Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 16:
Even as the ruling BJD looks set to sweep both the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Odisha, some senior ruling party leaders have either fallen behind or are running neck and neck with their rivals in some key Assembly constituncies.
The most prominent among such leaders, of course, is former minister and the BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik’s buddy Ananga Uday Singhdeo, who was trailing behind his traditional rival, Congress’ Narasingh Mishra, in the Bolangir Assembly constituency when reports last came in. The decision to make him resign him from the Rajya Sabha and fight the Assembly elections insead has clearly backfired.
Finance Minister Prasanna Acharya, was also trailing behind his nearest rival, incumbent Congress MLA Subal Sahu, by 2280 votes in the Bijepur Assembly constituency.
School and Mass Education minister Rabi Narayan Nanda was another minister in the Naveen Patnaik government who was trailing behind his rival, Taraprasad Bahinipati of the Congress, by over 2, 500 votes in the Jeypore Assembly constituency.
Former minister Sarada Nayak was trailing behind the BJP’s Dilip Ray by over 2, 500 votes while Sarat Rout of the Congress was ahead of BJD’s Priti Ranjan Ghadai in Sukinda.
There was a difference of less than 1, 000 votes between BJD candidates and their nearest rivals in at least 30 Assembly constituencies. Among those who are running neck and neck with their rivals are former minister Bishnu Das in Jagatsinghpur, BJD chief whip Sanjay Dasburma in Brahmagiri and Anubhav Patnaik in Khandapada.