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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: The Nabarangpur Lok Sabha (LS) Constituency in 2019 will give the excitement of an IPL 20-20 match as the pitch is all set to witness a nail-biting finish. The 2014 was an eye-opener as Pradeep Majhi of Congress lost to BJD's Balabhadra Majhi by around 2,000 votes, but other candidates, including BSP and independents, had together bagged over 70,000 votes.

In the context of multi-cornered contest in 2019, it looks more electrifying as sitting MP Balabhadra Majhi joined BJP and was declared party’s LS candidate for 2019.

While BJD and Congress in 2014 had a vote share in the range of 37 -41 per cent in each of the assembly constituencies, BJP’s vote share ranged at around 10-15 per cent in each of the assembly seats under the Nabarangpur LS constituency. However, one significant pointer from 2014 elections is BJP LS candidate had polled more votes than BJP assembly candidates.

For instance, when in Malkangiri assembly segment BJP’s Aditya Madhi in 2014 polled around 24 per cent votes to finish third, party’s LS candidate Sibasankar Ulaka with over 46,000 votes trumped the Congress candidate Pradip Majhi and then BJD candidate Balbhadra Majhi.  Bengali community in Malkangiri supported BJP in Lok Sabha but voted for BJD in assembly elections. They are upset at BJD now.

Similarly, BJP LS candidate secured around 15 per cent votes overall in 2014; whereas party’s assembly candidates in 2014 secured votes on an average of around 10 per cent. The analysis reveals BJP garnered more votes for Lok Sabha than assembly elections in 2014. The fight to get keen when PM Modi emerged as a major factor in upcoming elections in Odisha.

The voters in the LS Constituency will vote on April 11 with issues like glitches in paddy procurement, low paddy MSP and MSP for forest produces weighing heavy on their mind. The Congress sees a chance with the promise of Rs 2,500/quintal for paddy and BJP fancying their chances with MSP for around 50 forest produces, PMAY and Ujjwala. BJD is banking high on KALIA scheme to carry it through the day.

Significantly, prior to polls announcement, Modi Government in full pace tried to sanction more PMAY houses in Nabarangpur district. Data shows PMAY houses sanctioned to around 25 per cent of total eligible households in Nabarangpur. And around 10 per cent of eligible households in Malkangiri sanctioned PMAY houses. Similarly, Malkangiri district has recorded over 40,000 LPG connections under Ujjwala till January end with LPG penetration crossing over 26 per cent. The push by BJP was evident when Nabarangpur district figured 4th in Ujjwala LPG penetration in Odisha.

The BJD too has in last month directly accounted KALIA money to accounts of around 1.02 lakh farmers in Nabarangpur district. However, the Party fumed over EC when it put hold on payment of 2nd KALIA instalment as the beneficiaries in Nabarangpur were mere around 1 per cent of the total eligible farmers.

Along with farm and forest produce, tribe identity also to play a clincher role in the final race. As Gond tribes dominate in Umerkote and Jharigaon, Balbhadra Majhi had an edge over Pradeep Majhi (Bhotra) in the constituencies in 2014. However, in 2019 there is fear of split in Gond votes as BJD has fielded Ramesh Majhi, a Gond.

While BJP seems to have an upper hand in Malakngiri in 2019, BJD apparently sitting pretty in Jharigaon - where brother of Minister Ramesh Majhi is contesting from BJD ticket. Umerkote, Chitrakonda and Nabarangpur Assembly Constituencies would be the key decider of winner for Nabarangpur LS in 2019.

Anti-incumbency factor is conspicuous as BJD has dropped or changed five sitting MLAs in all assembly segments, except Umerkote. Randhari has been moved to Dabugaon from Nabarangpur seat. Congress has repeated candiidate in Nabarangpur and Kotpad assembly constituencies only.


Balabhadra Majhi: Bhartiya Janata Party

*Age - 58 years, Education - Bsc (Engg)

*Number of criminal cases - Nil

*Profession: Ex Government Servant  *Assets - Rs5crore

Pradeep Majhi: Indian National Congress

*Age - 43 years  Education - B.A, Diploma in computer application

*Number of criminal cases - Nil

*Profession - Social work. *Assets - Rs 69lakhs

Ramesh Chandra Majhi: Biju Janata Dal

*Age - 40 years   Education - 12th Pass

*Number of criminal cases: Nil

*Profession - Farmer    *Assets - 81 lakhs

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