Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 16:
It was a mixed bag for political leaders who went party hopping in the run up to the simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Odisha. While some of them have emerged victorious, others have bitten the dust.
Hemendra Singh, the scion of the Nayagarh royal family who left the Congress and joined the BJD barely weeks before the polls, has won the Kandhamal Lok Sabha seat with a thumping margin of 1, 39, 704 votes against his nearest rival, Harihar Karan of the Congress who polled 1, 34, 046 votes against Singh’s 2, 73, 750..
Ramachandra Hansda, who joined the BJD along with his three fellow MLAs of the NCP after the failed May 29, 2012 coup against Naveen Patnaik, bested his nearest rival Nepole Raghu Murmu of the BJP, by a hefty margin of 73, 254 votes in the Mayurbhanj Lok Sabha seat. Hansda polled 2, 26, 235 votes while Murmu could muster onl 1, 52, 981 votes.
Former Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) state unit president Sudam Marandi, who joined the BJD after talks for a possible alliance with the ruling party fell through following stiff objection from the JMM national leadership, defeated his former party colleague and nearest rival Ajen Murmu by nearly 16, 000 votes in the Bangiriposi Assembly constituency.
Former BJP leader and Minister Golak Nayak, who too hopped on to the BJD bandwagon on the eve of the election, had built up a lead of nearly 9, 000 votes in the Udala Assembly constituency when reports last came in. Nayak had polled 48, 150 votes as against 39, 786 polled by his nearest rival, Bhaskar Madhei of the BJP by 4 pm.
In Talcher, Braja Kishore Pradhan, the incumbent independent MLA who backed the Congress in the last Assembly but joined the BJD shortly before the elections, had built up an unassailable lead of 15, 312 votes over his nearest rival, Kalandi Samal of the BJP.
Nitesh Gangdev, who had joined the BJP days before the polls, was ahead of his BJD rival, Anita Pradhan by a whopping 18, 332 votes in the Deograh constituency.
Former Minister Duryodhan Majhi, who was among the few leaders who quit the BJD and joined the BJP ahead of the polls, was ahead of his rival, Adhiraj Mohan Panigrahi of the Congress, by 5, 031 votes in the Khariar constituency. The BJD candidate Lambodar Nial was at the third place.
Not everyone who changed parties was lucky though. Hema Gamang, wife of former Chief Minister Giridhar Gamang who had left the Congress and joined the BJD, bit the dust in Laxmipur. While Hema polled 20, 725 votes, her former party colleague Kailash Chandra Kulesika emerged winner with 32, 840, a margin of 12, 115.
Popular comic artist Tatwaprakash Satpathy, better known as Pappu Pom Pom was at third place behind the two heavyweight independents – Sanatan Mahakud and Kusha Apat – having polled just 9551 votes as against 64, 422 and 50, 554 polled by the two independents respectively in the Champua Assembly seat.
Odisha Sun Times Bureau