By Subrat Das*
Bhubaneswar: Puri Lok Sabha constituency is this time witnessing a tough contest between spokespersons of three prominent parties- Biju Janata Dal, Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress.
Biju Janata Dal MP and spokesperson Pinaki Mishra is contesting again, while BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra and chairman of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee media cell Satya Prakash Nayak are giving a tough fight to Mishra, who is a noted lawyer and grandson of Pandit Godavarish Mishra, an eminent freedom fighter.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today undertook road show in the pilgrim town of Puri after campaigning in Chilika, Ranpur and Brahmagiri assembly segments, which form part of Puri Lok Sabha constituency. On way back to Bhubaneswar, he is scheduled to campaign in Satyabadi and Pipli assembly segments, constituents of the same Lok Sabha constituency.
On the other hand, BJP national president Amit Shah had undertaken roadshow in Puri town on April 9 to campaign for the party candidate Patra.
Puri Lok Sabha constituency is considered as a BJD stronghold. Former union minister Braja Kishore Tripathy had been elected to Lok Sabha thrice (1998, 1999 and 2004) on BJD ticket, while Pinaki Mishra, who had switched over from Congress to Biju Janata Dal on the eve of 2009 general elections, has been winning the seat for the consecutive two terms (2009 and 2014). Mishra had earlier won the seat as Congress candidate in 1996.
Out of the seven assembly segments, Biju Janata Dal was representing five seats (Puri, Pipili, Brahmagiri, Ranpur and Nayagarh) in the state assembly. The ruling party has renominated Puri MLA and Revenue Minister Maheswar Mohanty, Brahmagiri MLA and youth leader Sanjay Das Burma, Pipili MLA and former Agriculture minister Pradeep Maharathy and Nayagarh MLA and former minister Arun Kumar Sahoo. However, the party has dropped Ranpur MLA Rabi Narayan Mohapatra. Independent MLA from Satyabadi Umakanta Samantray has been chosen as the BJD candidate this time. Former Pradesh Congress Committee president and former minister Prasad Harichandan is contesting again against Samantray from Satyabadi.
Chilika assembly segment, being held by BJP’s popular leader Dr Bibhuti Bhusan Harichandan is this time witnessing a tough contest between BJP and BJD. BJP’s state general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan, who happens to be nephew of three-time MLA Dr Harichandan is fighting against BJD’s Begunia MLA and a youth leader Prasant Jagdev. Prithviraj is also son of veteran BJP leader and former minister Biswabhusan Harichandan, who had also won the seat twice in the past.
BJP’s former national president of Mahila Morcha and former minister Surama Padhy and Congress candidate Subhashree Panda alias Mili, who is the wife of top Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda, are giving tough fight to BJD, which has replaced its sitting MLA Rabi Narayan Mohapatra with Satya Narayan Pradhan.
Brahmagiri assembly segment is also witnessing a curious scenario with the switch over of Lalitendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra, younger brother of three-time MLA and a tough Congress leader Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra aka Lulu Mohapatra, to BJP.
The writer is a journalist currently working with Sambad Group as Consultant Editor of Group Digital Edition.