Pradeep Pattanayak

In its eight list, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced the names of candidates for the three pending Lok Sabha seats in Odisha.

The saffron party fielded, Bhartruhari Mahtab from the Cuttack Parliamentary segment. Moreover, the party has given ticket to Sukanta Kumar Panigrahi to contest from the Kandhamal LS seat, while Rabindra Narayan Behera will be the party's candidate from the Jajpur parliamentary seat.

A couple of days ago, six-time BJD MP from Cuttack, Bhartruhari Mahtab resigned from the party and joined the BJP. The BJP has reposed its faith in Mahtab, who will take on BJD’s Santrupt Mishra in the prestigious Lok Sabha seat. 

The contest in Cuttack is likely to be interesting as Mahtab is expected to make use of his long political experience and public rapport.  

Mahtab said, "In fact, we will fight on the basis of the agenda set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. People in Cuttack have support for the Prime Minister. The challenge is big against a demonic force. I will win with the support of thousands of BJP workers and cadres.”

Mahtab added that nationalism, ekatmatabad and purvodaya will be BJP's key agendas. “My rival has experience in another sector. I have learnt how to face challenges from childhood. The challenge will be in terms of money and muscle power. People have seen Naveen Patnaik. Now people do not want administration by a proxy. The winds of change are blowing in favour of the Prime Minister. Time is short, but I will try my best to reach as many people as possible.” he added.        

"BJP leader Sukant Panigrahi is a dedicated BJP worker and he belongs to the Dasapalla area and has a long association with the RSS. He has some clout in Kandhamal," said senior journalist, Akshay Sahu.

Rabindra Behera, who will be taking on BJD’s Sharmistha Sethi said, "I thank the BJP’s central and state leadership for reposing faith in me to contest in Jajpur Lok Sabh seat. There are a number of issues in Jajpur despite being a mineral-rich district. A lot of development work needs to be carried out.”