Odishatv Bureau

Berhampur Lok Sabha constituency in Odisha, comprising Chhatrapur (SC), Gopalpur, Berhampur, Digapahgandi, Chikiti, Mohana and Paralakhemundi assembly segments, is known as a political powerhouse having significant influence in Odisha and country’s politics. Berhampur continues to remain a crucial constituency of the state since former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao was elected from this seat in 1996.

Significantly, Berhampur is one of the Assembly segments of Ganjam, the home district of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.  

The 2024 Lok Sabha election to this Parliamentary seat is expected to be high-octane dual contest among the BJP, the BJD and the Congress in view of a changed political equation this time. 

For Berhampur Lok Sabha constituency, the BJP has fielded Pradeep Kumar Panigrahi, once a close confidante of the Chief Minister and, now the sitting MLA of Gopalpur Assembly seat. After he was expelled from the BJD, he joined the BJP. The saffron party has reposed much faith in Panigrahi’s leadership and dropped its previous candidate Bhrugu Baxipatra. 

Interestingly, the BJD has fielded Bhrugu Baxipatra, who was the BJP candidate in the 2019 election. He had worked with the saffron party over 20 years. He left BJP to join BJD after being denied ticket. BJD banked on Baxipatra and announced him as its Lok Sabha nominee for the Berhampur seat. He had also unsuccessfully contested as BJP’s LS candidate from this seat in 2019, but had to bite the dust from BJD candidate Chandra Sekhar Sahu. 

On the other hand, Indian National Congress has this time pitted Rashmi Ranjan Patnaik against the BJP and the BJD candidates in the Berhampur Lok Sabha seat. 

In 2019, the BJD had fielded former Congress MP and a political heavyweight Chandra Sekhar Sahu as its candidate and he won the 2019 general election with a victory margin of 94,844 votes. Sahu secured 4,43,843 votes. Sahu trounced Bhrugu Baxipatra, the then candidate of the BJP, who got 3,48,999 votes. Congress nominee V. Chandrasekhar Naidu was placed in the third position with 1,42,632 votes. 

In 2019, the BJD’s vote share was 44.84 per cent while that of the BJP was 35.26 and the Congress’ was 14.41 percent.

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In the 2014 election, Biju Janata Dal had fielded Ollywood actor Sidhant Mohapatra as its candidate who defeated Congress candidate Chandra Sekhar Sahu. In 2009, BJD’s Sidhant Mohapatra was also elected from the seat by defeating Congress rival Chandra Sekhar Sahu.