By Subrat Das*
Bhubaneswar: Bhadrak Lok Sabha constituency, which is going to polls on Monday, is witnessing proxy war between political opponents. On the other hand, a straight fight between two heavyweights is seen in Bhandaripokhari assembly segment under this parliamentary constituency.
Biju Janata Dal, which has occupied this seat for five consecutive terms in Lok Sabha, has changed eight-time winner Arjun Sethi and has fielded Manjulata Mandal, wife of Dhamnagar MLA Muktikanta Mandal, ignoring the request of the veteran to choose his son Abhimanyu in his place. Feeling insulted Arjun has quit the party and joined the BJP camp. BJP has rewarded him with party ticket given to his son Abhimanyu.
So this has led to proxy war between Naveen and Arjun. Former union water resources minister, Arjun, who had made his debut in 1971 and commands considerable influence in this parliamentary seat, is appealing the voters to give him a last chance by voting for his son. Naveen has campaigned intensively across the constituency in favour of his choice Manjulata. The Congress has on the other hand fielded Madhumita Sethi, daughter of Congress veteran and former Bhadrak MP Ananta Prasad Sethi. Ananta himself is contesting from Simulia assembly segment falling under this parliamentary constituency and canvassing in favour of his daughter too.
On the other hand, a fierce straight fight is being witnessed in Bhandaripokhari assembly segment between state Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik and senior BJD leader and MSME minister Prafulla Samal, who was representing the seat in the dissolved state assembly. Patnaik was seen ahead of others in election campaigning.
The region witnessed high voltage campaign with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and BJP central ministers Nitin Gadkari, Dharmendra Pradhan and Jual Oram canvassing for their respective party candidates. Senior Congress leader and popular Bollywood actor Raj Babbar and Pradesh Congress Committee president Niranjan Patnaik campaigned for their party nominees.
Forest and Environment minister and Basudevpur MLA Bijoyshree Routray, who has opted out of the race this time, is campaigning for his political heir.
In the neighbouring Chandbali assembly segment, senior BJP leader and former minister Manmohan Samal is locked in contest with the sitting BJD MLA Byomkesh Ray. Similarly, a keen contest is being witnessed between sitting BJD MLA Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi, Congress veteran Ananta Sethi and his former colleague and former local MLA Padmalochan Panda, who has crossed over to BJP camp this time.
The writer is a journalist currently working with Sambad Group as Consultant Editor of Group Digital Edition.