Despite CM in poll fray, BJD has an uphill battle in Kalahandi in 2019

...No party has ever won for two consecutive terms...BJD routed in 2017 rural polls; BJP swept the polls...Bhakta won riding on a wave every time

Bhubaneswar: For BJD, Kalahandi electoral battle is not all in black and white. Grey areas are galore for the party. BJD is seemingly not in a comfortable position in 2019 elections, notwithstanding the fact that CM Naveen Patnaik is in the poll fray from western Odisha.

Significantly, no party ever has succeeded to win Kalahandi Lok Sabha (LS) seat for two consecutive terms (10-year period) since 1980, except in 1984 when former PM Indira Gandhi was assassinated and in 1998-2004 when BJD-BJP had a formidable alliance. Sensing trouble, BJD in a calculated move dropped incumbent MP Arka Keshari Deo and named Dharmagarh MLA Pushpendra Singh Deo candidate from the seat.

The BJP has also changed its strategy and pitted State BJP President Basanta Panda in Kalahandi replacing Pradipta Naik, who lost 2014 battle by a moderate margin of 56,000 votes to BJD’s Arka Deo. Notably, BJD to win the 2014 electoral duel had poached Arka Keshari Deo, whose father Bikram Keshari Deo was BJP MP from Kalahandi for 1998-2009.

However, Congress has stuck to senior leader and Chairman of State Congress Campaign Committee Bhakta Charan Das from Kalahandi Lok Sabha seat. Bhakta Das first won in 1989 as Janata Dal candidate, when Bofors storm was sweeping the nation.  After losing in 1991, Das again won the seat in 1996 riding on anti-Congress wave in Odisha. He won the Kalahandi seat in 2009 again riding on anti-Vedanta agitation. The analysis shows that Bhakta has triumphed every time riding on a wave. Interestingly, in 2019, no such wave seems to be dictating the political environment in Kalahandi.

Moreover, if the 2017 rural poll results are any indication, then of the 36 Zilla Parishad (ZP) constituencies, BJD won only one and Congress mere two. BJP won a whopping 33 ZP constituencies in Kalahandi. BJP swept the two ZP constituencies in Lanjigarh in 2017, which was the bastion of Congress after Vedanta agitation. BJD had won Lanjigarh ZP in 2014.

The seat is going to witness a triangular fight in 2019. While BJP seems to have an edge in Khariar, BJD has an upper hand in Narla and Dharmagarh. A keen tussle is on the cards in Nuapada, Junagarh and Bhawanipatna.

The Nuapada assembly battle will be fought by BJD’s former MLA Rajendra Dholakia, Homsingh Majhi from BJP and Ghasiram Majhi from Congress. Ghasiram had fought on BSP ticket and polled over 13 per cent votes vis-a-vis around 16 per cent votes by Congress in 2009. Moreover, BJP with around 40 per cent won the seat in 2014 to but faced a complete rout in 2017 rural polls. Even, incumbent MLA and State BJP President, Basant Panda is contesting from the Kalahandi LS seat in 2019.

BJD has made new face Lambodar Nial its Khariar candidate. BJP dropped sitting MLA Duryodhan Majhi and declared candidature of Rita Bagarti, wife of former BJP MLA Hitesh Bagarti. Duryodhan Majhi was BJD member till 2009. He re-joined recently post ticket denial. Congress puts up Adhiraj Panigrahi, who was first runner up in 2014 elections.

The Congress party re-nominated former MLA Shibaji Majhi from Lanjhigarh. BJD dropped sitting MLA Balabhadra Majhi and has pitted Pradeep Dishari.

Post declaring Pushpendra Deo as Kalahandi LS candidate, BJD fielded new face Mausidi Bag from Dharamgarh. Ramesh Majhi from BJP and Digambar Dhuria from Congress are in the fray.

Congress candidate Sagar Das, son of Bhakta Das, and Pradeep Nayak from BJP are giving a fight to BJD’s Dushmant Naik, who is the sitting MLA and has switched over to BJD from Congress.

While Bhupinder Singh from BJD is candidate in Narla, BJP has fielded Anirudh Pradhan and Congress Chitaranjan Mandal.

Congress declared Anil Singh Deo from Junagarh, BJP fielded Manoj Meher, kin of BJP leader Himansu Meher. BJD has re-nominated sitting MLA Dibya Sankar Mishra.

CANDIDATES PROFILE –  KALAHANDI LOK SABHA

 

Basanta Panda: Bharatiya Janata Party  

 *Age – 59 years, Education: 12 pass

*Currently State President of BJP

*Sitting MLA from Nuapada

* Number of criminal cases – 5

*Profession – Cultivation, Assets – Rs45Lakh

Pushpendra Singh Deo: Biju Janata Dal

*Age – 52 years, Education: 10th pass, Diploma in civil engg.

*Sitting MLA Dharmagarh, Lineage of Kalahandi Royal family

* No criminal cases

* Profession – cultivation, MLA, Assets – Rs1crore

Bhakta Charan Das: Indian National Congress

*Age – 60 years, Education: BA, LLB

*Senior leader & Chairman State Cong Campaign Committee

*Number of criminal cases – 1

*Profession – Legal consultancy & social service

*Assets – around Rs1crore.

                                       KALAHANDI ASSEMBLY CONSTITUENCIES

                                                                   NUAPADA

Ghasiram Majhi: Indian National Congress

* Age – 55 years, Education: B Com, LLB

* Former MLA from Nuapada

*Number of criminal cases – 1

*Profession – Advocacy, Assets – 66lakhs

Rajendra Dholakia: Biju Janata Dal

*Age – 63 years, Education – B. Com

*1st Runner up in 2014 elections

*Number of criminal cases – Nil

*Profession – Social worker. Assets – Rs 1crore.

Homsingh  Majhi: Bharatiya Janata Party

*No data available in public domain

                                                       KHARIAR

Lambodar Nial: Biju Janata Dal

*Age – 51years, Education – 12th Pass

*2nd Runner up in 2014 elections

*Number of criminal cases – 2

*Profession – Cultivation Assets – Rs48 lakhs

Adhiraj Panigrahi: Indian National Congress

*Age – 42 years Education – 12th Pass

*1st Runner up in 2014 elections

*Number of criminal cases – 3

*Profession – Business  Assets – Rs 2crore

RITA BAGARTI: Bharatiya Janata Party

*Wife of former BJP MLA from Khariar Hitesh Bagarti

*Hitesh Bagarti was arrested in Chit Fund scam

*No further data available in public domain

                                                    LANJHIGARH

SHIBAJI MAJHI: Indian National Congress

*Congress MLA from the seat in 2009

*Age – 47 years Education – 10th Pass

*Number of criminal cases – 1

*Profession – Political leader, Assets – Rs 12lakhs

PRADEEP DISHARI: Biju Janata Dal

*Former Congress leader

*Age – 43 years Education – Graduate

*Number of criminal cases – Nil

*Profession – Cultivation &Social service Assets – Rs 18 Lakhs

RAMESH MAJHI: Bharatiya Janata Party

No data available in public domain

                                              DHARMAGARH

Ananta Pratap Deo: Bharatiya Janata Party

*Crown prince of Kalahandi

 *No further data available in public domain

                                            BHAWANIPATNA

Dushmant Naik: Biju Janata Dal

*Sitting Congress MLA but joined BJD last year

*Age – 52 years Education – 10th Pass

*Number of criminal cases – Nil

*Profession – Agriculturist & Social activist Assets – Rs 87 lakhs

Sagar Das: Indian National Congress

*Son of prominent Congress leader Bhakta Charan Das

*No further data available on public domain

Pradeep Nayak: Bharatiya Janata Party

  * No data available in public domain

                                                            NARLA

Bhupinder Singh: Biju Janata Dal

 *Former Leader of Opposition, joined BJD in 2014

*BJD nominated him to Rajya Sabha

*Age –  68 years Education – MA LLB

*Number of criminal cases – Nil

* Profession – Social service Assets – Rs 2crore

Anirudh Pradhan: Bharatiya Janata Party

 * No data available in public domain

Chittaranjan Majhi: Indian National Congress

 *No data available in public domain