Mrunal Manmay Dash

With the Jharsuguda bypoll inching closer with each passing day, the Congress party on Thursday played the ‘son of the soil’ card to corner the candidates of the BJP and BJD.

Congress candidate Tarun Pandey raked up the issue of local candidate in a press conference on Thursday in Jharsuguda.

“I am a local of Jharsuguda. This is my soil. However, the other contestants from BJD and BJP are outsiders. One is from Sambalpur and the other one is from Sundargarh. The voters are now demanding to elect a representative who is from Jharsuguda,” said Pandey.

The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were quick to retaliate.

Responding to Pandey, BJD candidate and daughter of late Naba Kishore Das, Dipali Das said, “My father was the son of this soil. He has been in Jharsuguda for the last decade. Locality apart, the people will elect the person who stays closer to their hearts.”

The BJP on the other hand countered Congress by citing the works done by other politicians for Jharsuguda. “We all are sons of Odisha. The Chief Minister of Odisha does not know how to speak in Odia even after ruling the State for 24 years. When you say ‘love for the soil,’ it does not necessarily mean who is born here. It actually means what a person has done for this soil,” said BJP candidate Tankadhar Tripathi.

Meanwhile, the campaigning for the bypoll has been gathering steam with all three parties holding public rallies.

Following the announcement of his name, Tripathi visited the Jhadeswar Shiva shrine and had darshan of the Lord.

Addressing a public gathering, BJD leader, Prasanna Acharya said, “Our aim should be to take Jharsuguda from trouble to development. And we will do it wholeheartedly.”

“The law and order has collapsed in Jharsuguda. The interests of the poor are being compromised. Scheduled Castes, tribes and backward classes are at a loss throughout Odisha. These issues will be raised in this by-election,” said Union Education Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan.

The voting for the Assembly Constituency will be held on May 10 and counting of votes will be done on May 13.

While submission of nominations for the bypoll will continue till April 20, scrutiny of the same will be held on April 21. Nominations for the by-election can be withdrawn till April 24.

  • Reported by:
  • Bhagirathi Sahu