Political para goes up for Umerkote by-poll

Nabarangpur: With nomination for Umerkote by-poll in Odisha scheduled to begin from Saturday, political parties are gearing up for the battle of ballots for the seat which fell vacant following killing of BJD MLA Jagabandhu Majhi. The announcement of bypoll by the Election Commission has stimulated the aspirants who have started lobbying to get party nomination.

The leaders of the district have also become active and begun their calculations on the support base in the Umerkote segment. The by-poll was necessitated due to gunning down of Majhi by armed men in September. Congress which was in third position since the 2004 assembly polls held a big meeting on the death anniversary of Indira Gandhi at Maoist infested Raighar on Monday.

PCC President Niranjan Patnaik along with local MP Pradeep Majhi, AICC office bearers Jagdish Tytler, Mirza Irshad Baig and others spoke on various programmes being implemented by the UPA Government at the centre and also attacked BJD regime in Odisha raising corruption issues.

However, infighting among local leaders surfaced as former legislator Parama Pujari did not attend the meeting at Raighar and organised another meeting at Badabharandi to mark the death anniversary of Indira.

Observers said the party is likely find it tough in selecting its candidate under the present situation. Ruling BJD which snatched the seat from BJP in 2009 election also organised a meeting at Umerkote presided over by District President Jayadev Parida. Party workers from Raighar and Umerkote block complained about neglect by local representatives Umerkote where the ruling BJD remained a divided house for long.

The district unit of BJD Parida has called the executive committee meeting of the party tomorrow at Papadahandi to discuss on the bypoll and make its strategy. Revenue Minister Surya Narayan Patro, Law Minister Vikram Arukh, Tribal Affairs Minister Lal Bihari Himirika and IT Minister Ramesh Majhi are scheduled to participate in the meeting. BJP, a dominating force seems unperturbed so far as selection of its candidate is concerned. Former legislator Dharmu Gond, an advocate by profession, own the seat in 2004.

As the issue of integrity and virtue of candidates is most likely play an important role in the ensuing bypoll, both Congress and BJD are now stressing to select a well educated persons who have social acceptability and integrity. As Maoist infested Raighar Block is having the highest number of voters in the segment and dominated by Gond tribal both Congress and BJD are also in search of suitable candidates from the community.