Its a three-way fight in Orissa polls

April 13th, 2009 - 6:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bhubaneswar, April 13 (IANS) With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) parting ways after an 11-year alliance, Orissa’s two-phased elections for the Lok Sabha and the state assembly are mainly triangular with Congress being the third force.
The state goes to polls April 16 and 23. At least 157 candidates are testing their luck for the 21 Lok Sabha seats and 1,288 for 147 assembly seats. The total number of voters in the state is 27,160,572.

“There will be triangular contests, by and large, on most of the seats between the Congress, the BJP and the ruling BJD,” says Debendra Prusty, a political analyst.

The prominent among the BJD candidates are Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and several of his ministers.

Patnaik is contesting from Hinjili assembly constituency in the Ganjam district for the third time, while his Doon school friend and ministerial colleague A.U. Singhdeo is seeking re-election from Bolangir assembly constituency.

Although there are at least six candidates pitted against Patnaik, the main fight will be between him, Congress candidate Raghaba Parida and BJP’s Devananda Mohapatra.

BJP national vice president Jual Oram is contesting from Sundergarh Lok Sabha seat for a fourth term. He is facing a tough fight from former chief minister and Congress leader Hemananda Biswal.

Former chief minister and senior Congress leader Giridhar Gomang is contesting from his traditional Koraput Lok Sabha seat for a 10th term. He is facing BJP’s Upendra Majhi and BJD’s Jayaram Pangi.

The election is made more interesting as more than 20 scions of former princely states in Orissa are contesting elections as candidates of major political parties.

They include four members of the Bolangir royal family. While A.U. Singhdeo is seeking re-election on the Bolangir assembly seat, that he has been winning since 1990, his nephew and BJP candidate Kanak Vardhan Singhdeo is seeking re-election from Patnagarh assembly seat. Kanak Vardhan was also a minister in Patnaik’s cabinet.

Kanak Vardhan is facing challenge from BJD candidate Prakriti Devi - the wife of his younger brother Srivardhan Singhdeo.

Kanak Vardhan’s wife Sangeeta Singhdeo is the BJP candidate for the Bolangir Lok Sabha seat for a third term. A.U. Singhdeo’s son Kalikesh, a sitting legislator, is pitted against her as a BJD candidate.

Besides, the election will also see popular Oriya film actor Sidhant Mohapatra, a debutant in politics, take on Union Minister of State for Rural Development Chandra Sekhar Sahoo for Berhampur Lok Sabha seat on a BJD ticket.

The BJD and the BJP parted ways recently after a 11-year alliance in the state. The parties are now accusing each other for the communal riots that the state witnessed last year after the murder of a Hindu leader.

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