Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Oct 1:
Even as Puja fervour has gripped the whole of Odisha, politicians have the unenviable task of foregoing the festivities and the simple pleasures of spending time with friends and family to hit the dusty roads campaigning for the Kandhamal by-elections.
Hundreds of leaders belonging to different political parties are busy holding rallies and meetings to ensure the victory of their respective even as their family members back home are busy celebrating Dussera at some other part of the state.Tthir family members too are missing their presence during at home.
Although the by-poll is scheduled to be held on October 15, the leaders of the three major political parties – BJD, BJP and Congress – have started campaigning in the seven Assembly segments under Kandhamal Lok Sabha constituency. The leaders have camped in the tribal and Maoists dominated district even before the candidates filed their nomination papers as none of the parties is ready to leave anything to chance.
While BJP and the ruling BJD have already started campaigning, the Congress hit the campaign trail today to ensure the victory of local leader Abhimanyu Behera, who is contesting on the party ticket.
The party has deployed 150 leaders across the constituency and assigned them to lead the party to a marvellous victory. “We started campaign from today. Our workers are in jubilant mood after seeing the overwhelming response to the party candidate, who is a son of soil,” said PCC president Jaydev Jena, who led the Congress campaign.
BJP workers, led by campaign committee chairman Bijoy Mohapatra, are moving to every nook and corner of the constituency to garner votes for Rudramadhav Ray, a former MP from Kandhamal. Along with Mohapatra, state BJP president KV Singhdeo and several senior leaders are also sweating it out in the constituency. The two union ministers Jual Oram and Dharmendra Pradhan are also scheduled to campaign for the party.
However, it is the ruling BJD, which has made the election a fanfare. While 13 ministers and four MPs have been assigned to oversee the elections and prepare strategies, the party has declared 40 star campaigners that include chief minister Naveen Patnaik, Anubhav Mohanty, Sidhant Mohapatra, Dillip Tirkey, Munna Khan, Papu Pompom and several MPs and MLAs.
In order to counter the BJD brigade, BJP has 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 the state leaders.
However, the Congress is yet to name the list of star campaigners.
The constituency covers seven Assembly constituencies that includes Baliguda, G. Udayagiri, Phulbani, Kantamal, Boudh and Daspalla.