Himansu Shekhar Rout

After Nimapara MLA Samir Ranjan Dash left the BJD and joined the BJP, the political equation in the Jagatsingpur Lok Sabha seat has reportedly changed. For various factors, the political equation in the Chandbali Assembly seat is reportedly changing fast too ahead of the final phase of polls. This has allegedly become a cause of deep concern for the ruling BJD. 

To counter the influence of Samir towards the BJP, the ruling party has appointed 15 party observers, including eight leaders from Puri, in Nimapara while eight other leaders of the party were tasked for the Chandbali Assembly seat to checkmate BJP MLA candidate Manmohan Samal. 

'People will prove whom they like on June 4' 

BJP leader Samir Dash said, ”Whoever else is left with the BJD now should be sent here. The BJD will come to know on June 4 that with whom the people of Nimapara and Gop are siding.”   

As for new observers for Nimapara, BJD leader Subash Khuntia tried to explain, ”Elections in our seats are over. We have come to the neighbouring constituency to extend support to our candidate following instructions from our leader and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. 

As per reports, the fourth and final phase of polls is likely to be more challenging for the ruling party. Six Lok Sabha seats and 42 Assembly seats will go to polls on June 1. 

As per reports, Samir Dash wields his influence on the BJD workers not only in Nimpara but also in two contiguous Assembly seats-Kakatpur and Pipili, which has potential enough to tilt the situation for the BJP in the parliamentary seat. 

In the Chandbali Assembly seat, where Odisha BJP president Manmohan Samal is contesting the election against BJD’s Byomkesh Ray, the saffron base is reportedly fast spreading with frequent merger meetings. What has boosted the chance of the BJP leader is that Byomkesh’s uncle Ajay Nayak is now siding with the BJP. 
‘BJP scared of losing ground under its feet’

BJP spokesperson Anil Biswal said, ”After the third phase of polls, the BJD is scared of losing the battle. They clearly got hints about running short of the clear majority. The party is now making use of government machinery and all possible tricks to save the six LS and 42 Assembly seats in coastal Odisha.”  

Is the wind of change sweeping Odisha?

As per reports, there are several BJP heavyweights in the fray for coastal LS and Assembly seats. BJP’s National Vice President Baijayant Panda is contesting from the Kendrapara LS seat; Pratap Chandra Sarangi from the Balasore seat and former MP Bibhu Tarai from the Jagatsinghpur seat. 

In the 2019 elections, two of the six LS seats in coastal Odisha went to the BJP while four seats were in the kitty of the BJD. 
Besides, the BJP had won eight Assembly seats out of the total 42 seats while the BJD won 34 seats. 

As for the appointment of BJD's observers, Senior journalist Prasanna Mohanty observed, “The wind of change that is said to be sweeping Odisha is now felt more in coastal pockets. Given this, the BJD has adopted a strategy. The ruling party apprehends that the fort may crumble if extra measures are not taken.”

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