Political parties gear up for Patkura Assembly election

Bhubaneswar: After the announcement of election date for Patkura Assembly seat, three major political parties – BJD, BJP and Congress have chalked out plans and strategies for the upcoming poll.

As per reports, State Ministers Arun Sahoo, Ranendra Pratap Swain, Prafulla Mallick, Sanjay Das Burma, Atanu Sabyaschi Nayak, Pratap Deb and Pranab Prakash Das have been given the charge of BJD’s poll management by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

They have been directed to visit blocks and panchayats of Patkura, under Kendrapara Lok Sabha constituency, and create awareness about the State government’s developmental schemes and campaign for party candidate Sabitri Agarawalla, widow of Bed Prakash Agarwalla.

“People of the Patkura constituency love legendary leader Biju Patnaik and support his son Naveen Patnaik. There is no understanding between BJD and BJP as alleged by Congress. The poll fight between both the parties will be intense. Definitely the BJD candidate will win with a huge margin,” said BJD MLA Sarada Nayak.

Similarly, BJP leaders KV Singh Deo, Manmohan Samal and Bhrugu Baxipatra were given charge by the party higher-ups to look after the poll management. This apart, party MLAs and leaders will also fan out to different parts of the Assembly seat and campaign for the party candidate Bijoy Mohapatra.

“The people of Patkura have taken note of the negligence towards them in last 19 years and the way development was carried out when Bijoy Mohapatra was elected from the seat earlier. They will definitely give a befitting reply to the ruling party,” said Samir Mohanty, vice-president of Odisha BJP.

On the other hand, senior Congress leaders took jibe at BJD and BJP saying that both the parties are two sides of a coin. Congress MLA Santosh Singh Saluja said the party will give a tough challenge in the election and fight for farmers, poor and common people. The party has fielded Jayant Mohanty as its candidate for the poll.

Meanwhile, an all-party meeting was held at the Kendrapara Collectorate today to discuss the poll preparations. A flying squad surveillance team led by Kendrapara Collector has been formed to ensure free and fair poll.

Odisha Chief Electoral Officer Surendra Kumar said there are 309 booths in Patkura and preparations for the polls are over. “The State government departments have been informed about the model code of conduct which is in force in Patkura following the announcement of poll date,” added the CEO.

“We met representatives of all the political parties and a detailed discussion was held on how parties and the administration can cooperate each other for a free and fair poll,” said Basant Kumar Rout, Additional Collector of Kendrapara.

Polls to Patkura assembly seat will be held on July 20 and counting will be doneon July 24.

The Patkura poll, which was earlier scheduled to be held on April 29 during the fourth phase election in Odisha, was postponed following the death of BJD candidate Bed Prakash Agarwalla on April 20.

The Election Commission had initially rescheduled the polling date to May 19, but postponed it again in the wake of Cyclone Fani, which claimed several lives and left behind a trail of destruction in the state.