In Mayurbhanj, will BJP repeat 2017 rural poll roaring success?

Though BJD is banking on CM Naveen's charisma to retain the seat, BJP is seemingly steaming up with a 'double-engine' - Modi wave and BJP government in Jharkhand.

Bhubaneswar: As this tribal dominated Mayurbhanj, the land of Simlipal Tiger Sanctuary, Lok Sabha (LS) constituency is going to vote on Monday, the watch out factor is will BJD score a hat trick of wins in 2019 or will BJP reclaim its past glory this time or will JMM walk away with the victory cake.

Though Mayurbhanj is in Odisha, it’s the only district in State where the Jharkhand politics play a key role in poll politics. Jharkhand Party had won from the LS twice in 1951 and 1957. Jharkhand Party owed its genesis to the movement launched in late 50’s for separate Jharkhand State, including the district of Mayurbhanj. The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) had won the LS seat in 2004. And the party still has influence in around three assembly segments. For which, Anjani Soren, daughter of former Jharkhand CM Shibu Soren, fights from the LS seat with Congress support.

Significantly, Congress party had tasted first success in Mayurbhanj in 1980 and won consecutively till 1996. However, in 2014 general elections, the party came at poor third. And in the 2017 rural polls, the grand old party failed to register a single Zilla Parishad (ZP) win.

The ruling BJD which had made a clean sweep of all the assembly constituencies in the LS in 2014, had woken up to a rude jolt in 2017 rural polls when BJP trumped the BJD and made a clean sweep of around 51 ZPs, restricting BJD to mere five.

The ruling BJD revamped the organisation following the shock and had replaced its sitting chit fund scam tainted Ramchandra Hansdah with Dr Debasis Marandi, only to recoup the lost ground. BJP had also gone for a change of candidate in the constituency and fielded engineer Bishweswar Tudu.

What new factors are at work to BJP’s advantage in 2019? The joining of Mayurbhanj royal family in BJP recently has given an edge to BJP in Morada assembly segment, the only general constituency in the ST Lok Sabha constituency. Pravin Chandra Bhanjdeo had won the assembly seat on BJD ticket in 2014.

Moreover, the growth in votes polled for BJP were more than BJD’s vote growth in 2014. For instance, in Udala BJP had polled around 16,000 odd votes in 2009 but the votes polled in 2014 stood at 41, 271. Similarly, BJP nearly doubled its votes in 2014 vis-a-vis 2009 in all assembly segments except Saraskana.

In order to  tide over the handicap, BJP has made a popular doctor Budhan Murmu its candidate in the assembly constituency.

Though BJD is banking on CM Naveen’s charisma to retain the seat, BJP is seemingly steaming up with a ‘double-engine’ – Modi wave and BJP government in Jharkhand.