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Cuttack LS seat : Mahtab faces tough challenge in BJD bastion

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Reported by Chinmaya Dehury

Cuttack, April 13:

The Cuttack Parliamentary constituency in Odisha is witnessing a four cornered fight with popular film actor Aparajita Mohanty of the Congress, former minister Samir Dey of the BJP and former MP Kharavel Swain of the Aama Odisha Party (AOP) leaving no stone unturned to dethrone the sitting MP Bhartruhari Mahtab, who is seeking re-election on the BJD ticket.

Clockwise: Aparajita, Mahtab, Dey, Swain
Clockwise: Aparajita, Mahtab, Dey, Swain

With such formidable opponents in the fray, it is surely not going to be a cakewalk for Mahtab who took it easy in the 2009 elections. The four-time MP has indeed too many challenges from within his own party too.

The opposition parties are making every attempt to demolish the BJD bastion here. Last time BJD candidateshad won in all the seven constituencies that come under the Cuttack Lok Sabha seat.

The Congress has gained heavily by nominating Aparajita Mohanty, a popular Ollywood actor, as its candidate for this prestigious seat. The charming lady with her sweet manners has been able to galvanise and rejuvenate the nearly dead district party  organisation. Party workers and supporters are rallying behind her and she is also receiving encouraging responses from the people.

The party which suffered humiliating defeat across the Assembly segments in the past two elections has now some reasons for cheer.

” We now look forward to a situation that will see the Congress flag hoisted in the BJD citadel, ” said a hardcore party worker in Cuttack city.

BJP is also not far behind  in the campaign. Riding on the ‘Modi wave’, the party hopes to send three-time MLA from Cuttack city and former minister Samir Dey to the Lok Sabha.

While Dey is a well known figure in the city, the BJP workers here are campaigning with renewed vigour after Narendra Modi galvanised the Odisha party unit with his “infectious positive energy, ” a party organiser said.

According to political pundits, both Aparajita and Samir Dey are beginning to look very serious contenders for the Cuttack seat. Aparajita, riding on her charisma and affable demeanour, is seen to be making inroads, particularly in the rural pockets, into the BJD vote bank .

In urban centres, a distinct mood in favour of Modi is becoming more and more evident and observers feel that could work in favour of Samir Dey in a big way.

Former MP and firebrand leader Kharabela Swain, who is contesting this time under the Aama Odisha Party (AOP) banner,  is a popular figure. The significant presence of AOP – particularly in the Khandapada Assembly segment, which comes under the constituency- may queer the pitch for Mahtab.

However, defeating Mahtab in the BJD bastion is  a tough ask for the opponents, considering the fact that the organisational base of both the parties has undergone significant depletion in the last five years.

The presence of BJD MLAs in all the seven constituencies and the whirlwind campaign of BJD supremo and chief minister Naveen Patnaik will boost the party’s fortune in the elections, say BJD supporters.

Mahtab had won 2009 elections by a whopping 2.36 lakh vote margin and garnering more than 4.65 lakh votes. Congress’ Bibhuti Mishra had managed 2.25 lakh votes while BJP candidate Anadi Sahu had come third with a little over 75,000 votes.

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