Himansu Shekhar Rout

Many voters are likely to be in confusion while voting in the 2024 elections as there are multiple candidates of the same name from different parties, that too in the same seat. 

The cases in point are the Bissam Cuttack Assembly seat in Rayagada and the Koraput Assembly seat. BJD candidate Jagannath Saraka, BJP candidate Jagannath Nudruka, Congress nominee Nilamadhab Hikaka and Independent candidate Nilamadhab Ulaka are in the fray in this Assembly seat.

Both the contestants and voters are worried over the similar-sounding initials. Voters in tribal-dominated areas or elsewhere may not easily remember the names and titles of the candidates just to keep the confusion away. Similar-sounding names have every chance of misleading the voters to cast their votes wrongly.

Sibaji Das, a voter said, "Many voters will be confused over the same names. Some may cast their votes looking at symbols.”

Besides, crossovers of candidates to other parties also create confusion. Jagannath Nudruka, who is contesting on a BJP ticket, had earlier worked with the BJD. People may be confused about his party and may commit the mistake, said observers.

Independent candidate Nilamabhab Ulaka who is fighting the polls against the Congress candidate Nilamadhab Hikaka is actually a Congress rebel. Many opine that people allying with Congress have a good chance of voting wrongly due to the same names.  

What candidates say  

BJD nominee Jagannath Saraka said, “People definitely have faith in the BJD, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and in me.”  

BJP leader Jagannath Nudruka said, "There is no confusion on any name. People know who Jagannath Nudruka is. People will vote for the BJP and my name.” 

Congress nominee Nilamadhab Hikaka said, "No one looks at the names. They go by the party symbols and vote accordingly. I don’t think similar names will create any confusion.”  

Independent candidate Nilamadhab Ulaka said, "My intention is to serve the people by fighting the election.” 

A similar situation can be witnessed in the Koraput Assembly seat where BJD candidate Raghuram Padal is pitted against BJP nominee Raghuram Machha. Voters may be in the confusion about Raghuram Machha’s party as he had earlier worked with the BJD. 

However, both leaders are confident about their identity. They said that people will look at the party symbols, not the names. 

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BJD candidate Raghuram Padal said, "People know Raghuram Padal. I have been with the people over the years. Our votes will not go anywhere else.” 

BJP leader Raghuram Machha said, "All know Raghuram Machha very well. My votes will come to me and will not go anywhere. People know Machha, Modi and Padma Phula (lotus, BJP symbol).”

  • Reported by:
  • Surya Narayan Panda , Maudi Barik