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Vikash Sharma

With barely six days to go for the crucial elections to various urban local bodies (ULB), major political parties in the State, including the BJP, BJD and Congress, have stepped up campaigning in the Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) area.

Every nook and corner of the city is now dotted with party-flags and life-size cut-outs, banners of candidates contesting the polls for the post of corporator and Mayor. Though the major political parties are spending lavishly on creating the buzz through billboards, posters, leaflets and blaring publicity message on loudspeakers, the independent candidates in the fray (contesting for corporator and mayor posts) are falling behind to some extent.

Though the major political parties are not leaving any stones unturned to woo the voters, several independent candidates are also trying their luck for the Mayoral post. A total of 16 candidates, including eight independent, are in race for Mayor in Cuttack.

For the independent candidates, funds are the major constraint. However, it has not deterred their spirit and they are looking forward to give the heavy-weights from different established political parties Mayor a tough fight.

Brundaban Azad, who well known among the slum dwellers, said that he is fighting for the Mayor post with contribution from the voters. The slum voters may prove to be a decisive factor in the CMC elections.

“I do not have much of finances. Still, I have been working hard for the rights of the slum dwellers in the city. I hope I will get their support,” a confident Azad told odishatv.in.

Despite the odds, Gastroenterologist Dr Devananda Mohapatra, who is contesting for Mayor post as an independent candidate, said that his hopes are high and the motivation is helping him to march ahead. “Our priority is now to cover every household and touch the voters through door-to-door campaigning. As the days are very less, we are trying our best to convey our message and promises of a clean city,” said Mohapatra.

Another independent Mayor candidate, Sanjit Samal is making extensive use of social media to reach out to the voters. A well known social activist, Samal is trying his best to strike a chord with the voters with road-shows and door-to-door campaigning.

“I am reaching out to the voters by focusing on various agendas, including the corruption and other basic issues plaguing the city for long. People are joining me in large numbers and supporting me,” said Samal.

Samal said that through various social media platforms including Facebook and WhatsApp it is now possible to reach out to scores of people easily. “I also using latest audio-visual means to convey my message to the masses,” he added.

While the BJD has fielded Subhas Singh as its Mayor candidate, senior Congress leader Giribala Behera is the face of the grand old party. Similarly, BJP has trusted actor-turned politician Sritam Das for the Mayor post. The SUCI (Communist) has pitched Babi Balbantray as its candidate for the crucial post.

“It is very difficult to match the expenses of the political parties. But still we are crowd funding our campaign expenses and focusing on reaching out to every voter in all Wards of the city,” said Balbantray.

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