Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

As the much-awaited day for Padampur by-poll inches closer, the leading political parties have intensified their preparations and fastened their seat belts for campaigning with a long list of star campaigners. 

BJD chalks out new strategy after Dhamnagar defeat

Following the huge marginal defeat from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Dhamnagar by-polls , Biju Janata Dal (BJD) seems to have chalked out a more effective strategy to clinch victory. Chief Minister and party supremo Naveen Patnaik will lead the campaign trail for the party’s candidate Barsha Rani Singh Bariha in the forthcoming by-elections. 

The list of star campaigners also includes 10 ministers and several other party leaders surrounded by different controversies. Prominent party figures like Dibya Shankar Mishra and Pratap Jena, who are surrounded by controversies regarding the sensational Mamita Meher murder case and Mahanga double murder case respectively, have been included in the star campaigner list. Even the party has included Minister Samir Ranjan Dash, who is entangled in ZP member Dharmendra Sahu suicide case. 

However, the party has excluded the so-called Jajpur group who led the campaigning of Dhamnagar by-poll. Minister Pramila Mallick and Priti Ranjan Ghadei are missing from the list. Similarly, student President Byomkesh Ray, MLA Pranab Balabantray, and Sanjib Mallick have also been excluded. 

After the debacle in Dhamnagar, the party has exuded confidence in senior party leaders and western Odisha leaders. For the first time, BJD has included former MLA Pradeep Majhi in its star campaigner list.

“If the party has filed a 40-member list of star campaigners that doesn’t mean only they will take part in campaigning. Every leader and worker will participate in campaigning,” said Prasanna Acharya, senior BJD leader.

Union Ministers step up for campaigning for BJP candidate

On the other hand, BJP has included four union ministers, Dharmendra Pradhan, Ashwini Vaishnaw, Bishweswar Tudu, and Arjun Munda, in its list of star campaigners for Padampur by-elections. Apart from the union ministers, the saffron party has included state in-charges Sunil Bansal and D Purandeswari, and national vice president Baijayant Panda as its star campaigners. 

Apart from the biggies, the party has included the newly-elected MLA of Dhamnagar Suryavanshi Suraj. Moreover, plans are in cards to bring in Narendra Singh Tomar with eyes on the votes of farmers. 

“All leaders and workers of BJP will participate in campaigning. Everyone will play their part as and when required,” said Golak Mohapatra, BJP Spokesperson. 

Congress excludes Mohammad Mokim 

Meanwhile, Congress has also released the list of 40 star campaigners for the by-elections. However, the party has excluded senior leader Mohammad Mokim. State in-charge, co-in-charge, and PCC President will campaign along with CWC member Bhakta Das.

“Congress has included those who work in the grass-root level and work for the people. A Chella Kumar, Rudraraju, Sarat Patnaik and all other former PCC chiefs will lead the campaign,” said Nihar Mahanand, party’s District President, Bargarh.

While BJD has already begun its campaigning with a mega road show of senior party leaders Debi Prasad Mishra and Pushpendra Singhdeo, BJP candidate Pradeep Purohit has begun door-to-door campaigning in Paikamala block while the newly elected MLA of Dhamanagar is campaigning for the party. However, Congress is yet to step up into the arena of campaigning.

Bureau Report