Triangular fight on the cards in bypoll for Brajrajnagar Assembly

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Phanindra Pradhan

Brajrajnagar, May 27: Triangular fight is on the cards among BJD, BJP, and Congress candidates in the bypoll for Brajrajnagar Assembly constituency in Jharsuguda district, which is located in the western part of Odisha. The bypoll, which was necessitated due to the sad demise of sitting Brajrajnagar BJD MLA, Kishore Mohanty, is scheduled to be held on May 31.   While BJD has fielded the widow of Kishore Mohanty, Alaska Mohanty, BJP has put up former Brajrajnagar MLA, Radharani Panda and Congress have fielded former minister, Kishore Chandra Patel.BJD seems to be in the upper hand with BJD leaders including ministers and MLAs are camping and campaigning at grassroots levels to grab the seat. BJD, which is known for its good election management, is leaving no stone unturned to win the bypoll. Even though BJD candidate Alaka is a novice in politics, her party is working hard for her win.

The BJP is facing a tough challenge as BJP candidate Radharani, who was defeated by Kishore Mohanty in the 2019 election, has failed to make rapport with the inhabitants of the constituency besides connecting with the grassroots during her MLA tenure from 2014 to 2019. Radharani had also failed to undertake any visible development work in the constituency during her stint as MLA. On the other hand, the Congress party, which had left the seat for CPI after failing to get a suitable candidate for the seat in the 2019 election, is working hard to grab the seat.

The position of Congress has been substantially improved after the appointment of Sarat Pattanayak as President of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) as Sarat belongs to the western part of Odisha. Sarat is camping and campaigning in the constituency to woo the voters. The Congress candidate Kishore Patel besides the Congress workers have been charged up after the appointment of Sarat as President of OPCC. While BJD is raking up the clean image of BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik and various welfare measures undertaken by the BJD government to attract the voters to cast vote for the BJD, BJP is trying to woo the voters by raising issues like the failure of Naveen led BJD government besides various developmental works and welfares measures are undertaken by the Modi led BJP government. Congress is raising the failure of the Naveen-led BJD government and Modi-led BJP government to draw the attention of voters towards the Congress party.

The Brajrajnagar constituency, which comes under Bargarh parliamentary constituency, covers Brajrajnagar Municipality, Belpahar Municipality, Lakhanpur block, and parts of Jharsuguda block. In the 2019 Assembly election, Kishore Mohanty of BJD grabbed the Assembly segment after defeating Radharani by a margin of 11,999 votes. While Kishore Mohanty got 80,152 votes, Radharani managed to get 68,153 votes and CPI candidate Ramesh Tripathi got 9,350 votes. In the 2014 elections, Radharani grabbed the Assembly segment after defeating Anup Kumar Sai, who fought the election as BJD nominee after deserting the Congress prior to the poll, by a margin of 6,790 votes.

While Radharani got 50,736 votes, Anup managed to get 43,946 votes, Kishore Chandra Patel of Congress got 38,175 votes and Gajanan Sahu of CPI managed to get 6,436 votes. Prior to this, Congress candidate Anup defeated BJP stalwart Suresh Pujari by a slender margin of 1,742 votes in the 2009 polls. Political observers said Brajrajnagar Assembly is going to witness a triangular fight among BJD, BJP, and Congress candidates. The position of Congress, which was lagging behind, has been improved after the appointment of veteran Congress leader Sarat Pattanayak as OPCC President, they said.

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