By Subrat Das*
Bhubaneswar: With three days to go for polls, Mayurbhanj Lok Sabha constituency is witnessing high voltage campaign by heavyweights. While Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has campaigned across the parliamentary constituency, his Jharkhand counterpart Raghubar Das and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) Chief Sibu Soren have campaigned for their respective party candidates.
On Thursday, Naveen made a whirlwind trip to six assembly segments under the constituency, while he undertook a roadshow in Baripada, the district headquarter town of Mayurbhanj, on the previous evening.
His Jharkhand counterpart Raghubar Das campaigned for his party candidates on April 2, while JMM chief Sibu Soren campaigned on Thursday in support of his daughter Anjani Soren Marandi, who is contesting as the party candidate for Mayurbhanj Lok Sabha seat.
Biju Janata Dal has changed its sitting MP Ramchandra Hansda, after he was entangled in chit fund scam. He has been replaced by doctor-turned-politician Debasish Marandi. Similarly, BJP has changed its candidate Napole Raghu Murmu, who was defeated by Ramachandra Murmu by a margin of 1.22 lakh votes. Bisweswar Tudu is the new BJP candidate.
Congress has left seat to JMM as a part of seat sharing and therefore is supporting Anjani Soren Marandi of JMM. It has also spared three assembly seats (Saraskana, Rairangpur and Udala) to JMM, which has a large following in this tribal-dominated district. JMM’s Sudam Marandi had won the Mayurbhanj Lok Sabha seat in 2004.
However, the Biju Janata Dal’s base got strengthened after a powerful section of JMM led by Sudam joined the ruling party. Later, Sudam was made a minister in Naveen Patnaik ministry. BJD snatched the Mayurbhanj Lok Sabha seat from JMM in 2009 and 2014.
This time, BJD has changed sitting MLAs of six out of seven assembly segments to ensure party’s victory. It has only renominated Sudam. It has replaced Deputy Speaker of the state assembly Sananda Marandi in the prestigious Baripada assembly seat with party’s Rajya Sabha member and former minister Sarojini Hembram, who is the daughter of veteran tribal leader and former minister Chaitanya Prasad Majhi. The party has made Rajkishore Das as its candidate for Morada assembly seat after he jumped from BJP to BJD.
The BJP has also fielded new faces in six of the seven assembly segments. Only former MLA Bhaskar Madhei has been renominated for Udala seat.
On the other hand, Congress has spared Saraskana seat to JMM state president Mahesh Chandra Hembram, Rairangpur to JMM vice president Rama Chandra Murmu and Bangiriposhi to JMM member Fagu Hansda as part of seat adjustment. However, Congress candidate Pravas Kar Mohapatra is having friendly contest in Morada assembly segment with JMM state general secretary Kalinga Keshari Jena. But Congress is contesting in Jashipur, Udala and Baripada with JMM support.
The writer is a journalist currently working with Sambad Group as Consultant Editor of Group Digital Edition.