Bhubaneswar: The fourth and final phase of Lok Sabha & Assembly elections in Odisha commenced today with six parliamentary constituencies and 41 assembly seats going to polls.
The elections are being held for Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur Lok Sabha constituencies and 41 Assembly segments under them.
As many as 52 candidates (40 male and 12 female) are in the fray for the Lok Sabha seats while 336 candidates (301 male, 34 female and one third gender) are contesting for the Assembly segments.
A total of 95,00,653 voters are eligible to cast their votes at 10792 polling booths between 7 am and 6 pm. Out of the total voters, 49,01,079 are male, 45,98,979 are female and 595 belong to the third gender.
The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is aiming to retain the six Lok Sabha seats it had won in 2014 polls.
An intense battle will be witnessed in Kendrapara where Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national vice-president Baijayant Panda will lock horns with BJD Rajya Sabha MP and Odia actor Anubhav Mohanty. Congress has repeated its candidate Dharanidhar Nayak from the seat.
In Mayurbhanj, BJD’s Debashis Marndi is fighting against BJP candidate Bishweshwar Tudu and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha’s (JMM) Anjani Soren, daughter of party chief Shibu Soren. Anjani is the JMM-Congress alliance candidate from the seat.
The Balasore seat will witness a triangular fight between the Congress, BJP and BJD. Sitting BJD MP Rabindra Kumar Jena will fight against BJP’s Pratap Sarangi and Navajyoti Patnaik, son of Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president Niranjan Patnaik.
Avimanyu Sethi, son of sitting MP Arjun Sethi, is contesting from Bhadrak Lok Sabha on BJP ticket. The senior Sethi quit the BJD and joined BJP after his son was denied a party ticket. The BJD has fielded Manjulata Mandal, spouse of sitting Dhamnagar MLA Muktikanta Mandal from the seat. Congress has fielded Madhumita Sethi, daughter of senior Congress leader Ananta Charan Sethi.
In Jajpur, BJD has fielded former state administrative officer Sarmistha Sethi. BJP’s Amiya Kanta Mallick and Congress’ Manas Jena are making all-out efforts to breach the impregnable BJD bastion.
In Jagatsinghpur, BJD MLA from Tirtol Rajashri Mallick’s is up against BJP’s Bibhu Prasad Tarai and Congress’ Pratima Mallick.
In Assembly segments, several ministers including Prafulla Samal (Bhandaripokhari), Anant Das (Bhograi), Shashi Bhusan Behera (Kendrapara), and Pratap Jena (Mahanga) are contesting in the fourth phase. Odisha Pradesh Congress President Niranjan Patnaik is fighting from Bhandaripokhari seat against Minister Prafulla Samal.