Pradeep Pattanayak

Kantamal Assembly Constituency, situated in the Boudh district and one of the seven Assembly segments under the Kandhamal Parliament seat, has been a Biju Janata Dal bastion since its formation in 2009.

While the ruling party is trying its level best to retain the seat this time as well, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress have also started firing on all cylinders to capture the conch part’s fort. 

In 2009, Bhagaban Kanhar fought on a BJD ticket and won from the Kantamal seat by defeating Congress candidate Kanhai Charan Danga.  

In 2014, BJD fielded Mahidhar Rana, who started his political career from the Panchayat level. It was like a cakewalk for Rana, who defeated Congress’ Harinarayan Pradhan.

In 2019, the BJD re-nominated Rana. But it turned out to be a close fight between the BJD and the BJP.  However, Rana managed to save the party's fort by defeating BJP’s Kanhai Charan Danga by only 3,650 votes. 

For this election, while the BJD has already announced the name of its candidate, the BJP and the Congress are yet to announce their candidates for the seat.

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Reposing faith in Rana, the ruling BJD has fielded him for the third consecutive time. 

“I am thankful to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for nominating me for the third consecutive time,” said Rana. 

As Kanhai Charan Danga gave Rana a run for his money in the 2019 Assembly election, he is hopeful to get a ticket from the BJP this time around.  At the same time, former general secretary of BJP Yuva Morcha Om Prakash Mishra is also in the race for a party ticket. 

“Ahead of elections, the BJD has doled out attractive yojanas. But the voters are wise to its plan. So, Kantamal seat will definitely go to the BJP, ” said Danga, a BJP ticket aspirant. 

“The voters of Kantamal constituency have already decided to support the Bharatiya Janata Party. So the BJP will win by a huge margin,” said Om Prakash Mishra. 

The Congress has also started its spadework here. In the last elections, its candidate Prashant Kumar Sahu polled only 13,166 votes. A PCC member, Sahu is hopeful that the party will field him this time. The Boudh district president of the Rashtriya Mazdoor Congress, Saroj Pradhan is also aspiring for a party ticket. 

“As the BJD government has been neglecting Kantamal, people have understood that the Congress alone can develop the area,” said Sahu, a Congress ticket aspirant. 

Saroj Pradhan said, “The people of the area have made up their minds to vote Congress to power. So the Congress’ victory is inevitable.”

  • Reported by:
  • Rabindra Hota