By Subrat Das*
Bhubaneswar: Battle lines have been drawn in nine Lok Sabha and 63 assembly segments under them with the closure of filing of nomination papers.
Today, the filing of papers for Aska, Bargarh, Bolangir, Kadhamal and Sundargarh Lok Sabha constitutes and 35 assembly segments was over. Yesterday was the last date for Koraput, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi and Berhampur Lok Sabha constituencies and 28 assembly segments under them.
So far, 75 and 547 candidates have respectively filed nominations for 9 Lok Sabha constituencies and 63 assembly segments under them for the first two phase elections.
Two sitting Rajya Sabha MPs – Prasanna Acharya and Achyuta Samant- have been fielded by BJD from Bargarh and Kandhamal Lok Sabha constituencies in place of sitting MPs Pravas Singh and Pratyusha Rajeshwari Singh respectively. Similarly, Naveen has changed Jhinna Hikaka and replaced him with his wife Kaushalya. He also dropped sitting MPs Arkesh Keshari Deo ( Kalahandi), Balabhadra Maji (Nabarangpur) and Siddhant Mohapatra (Berhampur) and replaced them with Dharamgarh MLA Puspendra Singh Deo, SC & ST minister Ramesh Chandra Majhi and former union minister Chandrashekhar Sahu respectively. Similarly, self help group activist Pramila Bisoi was fielded in place of sitting MP Ladu Kishore Swain.
For the first time, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is contesting from two assembly constituencies-Hinjili and Bijepur-one from South Odisha and another from Western Odisha. But this time, eminent lawyer Pitambar Acharya is contesting against Naveen from Hinjili as BJP candidate.
The poll scenario has become strange this time with a dozen of opposition MLAs and leaders joining the ruling party and contesting as candidate of party in power. Similarly, several ruling BJD former ministers and MLAs have been denied party ticket. Prominent among them were for Jogendra Behera, Dr Ramesh Chandra Chyau Patnaik and Ayub Khan. On the other hand, opposition leaders joining the BJD in the above 63 assembly segments include Jharsuguda MLA Naba Kishore Das and Sundargarh legislator Jogesh Singh and Sundargarh Special Development Council leader Lusum Tete.
Odisha Assembly Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat and ministers, Niranjan Pujari, Bikram Keshari Arukh, Surya Narayan Patro, Usha Devi, Susant Singh, Snehangini Chhuria have got the party renomination. Former Rajya Sabha member Bhupinder Singh was allotted party ticket from Narla assembly constituency.
Many MLAs also retained their ticket. Prominent among them: Mangala Kisan, Subrat Tarai, Raseswari Panigrahi, Rohit Pujari, Padmanav Behera, Devesh Acharya,Dibya Shankar Mishra, Lal Bihari Himirika, Tukuni Sahu and Rajendra Dholakia. Similarly, almost all the legislators of Congress and BJP have also got renomination.
The writer is a journalist currently working with Sambad Group as Consultant Editor of Group Digital Edition.