Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Oct 5:
With the date of the by-election for Kandhamal Parliamentary seat in Odisha getting closer, three major political parties – Congress, BJP and BJD – have intensified their campaign and sparing no effort to woo the voters.
All the three parties have fanned out their supporters and workers across the seven assembly segments coming under the Lok Sabha seat. Senior leaders of the parties have been entrusted with the task of preparing strategies and overseeing the electioneering process. They are also holding meetings and rallies in every nook and corner of the constituency.
“While many of our senior leaders are working hard to enhance the winning possibility of the party candidate, we are busy interacting with the local, grassroots level leaders, who can convert the public support for the Congress into votes. The response of people has been overwhelming. They know that the ruling BJD is mired in corruption and BJP is a big zero in the constituency without its communal card,” said PCC president Jayadev Jena.
Several central leaders of Congress are likely to come for campaigning in the coming days to bolster the party’s prospects, he said.
While the BJP feels the Narendra Modi effect will give them an edge over their rivals, it is leaving nothing to chance. The party has lined up several central and state level leaders to campaign for the party candidate and also decided to requisition the services of Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh, Union ministers Uma Bharati, Manoj Sinha and Sudarshan Bhagat, former Jharkhand chief minister Arjun Munda, Odisha Pravari Arun Singh and BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra along with several state leaders.
Union ministers Jual Oram and Dharmendra Pradhan will campaign extensively for the party candidate and former Kandhamal MP Rudramadhav Ray, said state BJP president KV Singhdeo.
The ruling BJD, which is facing its worst ever image crisis as scams after scams continue to tumble out of the woodwork, has deployed 13 ministers and four MPs to oversee the electioneering and prepare strategies for a big victory of Pratyusha Rajeswari, widow of Hemendra Singh, whose untimely death necessitated the by-poll.
While more than two dozen BJD MLAs are already camping in the
constituency, party president and chief minister Naveen Patnaik, Odia film actors-cum-MPs Anubhav Mohanty, Sidhant Mohapatra will be canvassing for the party candidate.
Former captain of the Indian hockey team and Rajya Sabha MP Dilip Tirkey will also be roped in to woo the sizeable Christian voters in the constituency. The party has also managed to get most of the Christian leaders in the state on its side and hopes to corner bulk votes from that community.
However, the ruling party has reasons to worry over Ms Pratyusha’s citizenship issue that has been raked up by the Congress and the BJP. The other handicaps that the party faces in the constituency is the inability of their candidate to speak Odia and also the absence of a sympathy wave for her.