Suryakant Jena

Bhubaneswar: While the BJP, to achieve its 120+ seats-mission, has roped in former IAS officer Aparajita Sarangi for the Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha constituency, the ruling-BJD in the State has turned to former Mumbai top cop Arup Patnaik.

Along with the reputation that is associated with winning the mandate of people in country’s leading Smart City, these contestants have made the battle for the Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha constituency interesting.

With Bhubaneswar going to polls on April 23, poll fever in the Parliamentary segment and Assembly constituencies under its jurisdiction has already reached fever pitch with both Aparajita and Arup kick-starting their campaigns.

For Aparajita, who earlier served as Khurda Collector and also had a stint as BMC Commissioner, Bhubaneswar is a place where she would be most comfortable given her knowledge of public and their issues.

Aparajita said, “I am myself my biggest opponent. Everyone wants a (parivartan) change and I am getting lot of support from people wherever I go, which is a very positive sign.”

Experts are of the view that Arup might face an uphill task, but the former IPS officer is leaving no stone unturned to reach out to people.

Arup has expressed confidence that CM Naveen’s popularity and faith of people on BJD will help him sail through.

“As always, my main objective will be public service. While I served in police, I did the same thing and now I also look forward to take the huge responsibility of representing 23 lakh people of the constituency,” said Arup.

Meanwhile, not only capital city Bhubaneswar, the millennium city Cuttack may also get to witness a different poll battle this time where the BJP has fielded former Odisha DGP Prakash Mishra.

Even though the BJD and the Congress are yet to announce their candidates, Mishra hit the ground as soon as his name was nominated for the Cuttack Parliamentary constituency.