Balasore: With just a few days left for the by-polls for two Assembly seats including Balasore Sadar Constituency, the campaigning ambience is thick in the air with leaders of the Biju Janata Dal, Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress trying their best to woo the voters.
But, the fight is primarily between the ruling BJD and the BJP. While the saffron outfit is trying to hold the Balasore Sadar seat, the BJD has been putting all its weights to retain the seat which it lost in 2019.
While the BJD has fielded Swarup Kumar Das, who had a successful stint in the civic body elections, the BJP is banking on Manas Kumar Dutta in Balasore Sadar seat, which fell vacant after his father former MLA Madan Mohan Dutta had died of cardiac arrest in June.
Manas Kumar has intensified his campaign seeking votes in the name of his late father.
BJD’s Swarup Kumar Das, who is very popular in the constituency and had successful stint in the civic body election, exuded confidence that his victory margin would be 50,000.
The BJD senior leaders, including Sanjay Das Burma, Capt. Dibya Shankar Mishra who were campaigned for the party candidate, have also expressed confident that this time the table would be turned in favour of their party.
Swarup said the BJD is going to the people with developmental works being done by the Naveen Patnaik Government.
On the other hand, BJP is facing challenges within the party. The internal conflict among the district level leaders in Balasore is a cause of concern for the saffron outfit.
According to political observers, many senior district level leaders were expecting party ticket and were also lobbying for the same at the State level. But the ticket was given to Manas Kumar causing dissidence in the party.
Manas Kumar is rookie in the politics and is highly dependent on the image of his late father and begging votes in his name .
“My father was very popular in Balasore. He was always available when people needed him the most. I have confidence on the goodwill my father used to carry, he said in a rally.
Manas is clearly playing emotional card using his late father’s name but that is hard to impress the voters, opine the political observers, who are closely following the Balasore Sadar.
Madan Mohan Dutta, as BJP candidate, had won the Balasore Sadar seat for the first time in 2019. Last time, the party won the seat in 2000.
The BJP is pitching its heavyweights to win the mandate in the constituency. Leaders like Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, MP Aparajita Sarangi have also campaigned for Das.
In addition to the BJP’s internal conflict, another issue that could go against the saffron party is that the Modi Government’s incapable of handling the migration issue during the COVID-19 lockdown. Many migrants who have come from other states during lockdown, are airing their voice against the BJP government at the Centre for the suffer they had to undergone due to mishandling of migrant situation.
Where were Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders when we were suffering a lot due to lockdown and wanted to coming back to home, asked Subhash Dey, a migrant labour, while praising Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik-led State Government’s COVID management strategies.
As Odisha under the leadership of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik fought a battle against Covid-19 pandemic successfully and has become an example not only in the country, but across the globe, it is all likely to help the BJD to turn the table.
Meanwhile, senior BJD leaders are aggressively pursuing door-to-door campaigns for their candidate.
The BJD is hopeful of winning both the Tirtol and Balasore Sadar seats and it is banking heavily on party supremo and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s image.
Party supremo Naveen Patnaik is scheduled hold virtual rally on Thursday in Balasore constituency. The political observers believe the rally could further boost the party’s wining probability in the constituency.
As far as campaigning is considered, the Congress is a distant third. The party has fielded Mamata Kundu from the Balasore Sadar constituency.
80 years old independent candidate Benudhar Bairak has created a certain amount buzz in the social media and his campaigning also gather momentum basically in social media.
According to Deepak Kumar Sahu, Banudhar has certainly created a buzz in social media, young people in both social media and in ground following him. He is getting attention from all quarters. It is hard to say whether this attention will turn into votes for him. But, he will definitely cut the vote share of BJP, as he is airing voice against the BJP and highlights the misery the people during lockdown.
It is turning out to be an interesting battle between the BJD and BJP.