Why is Baijayant Panda Absent in Poll Campaigning?

Balasore: With just a few days left for the Balasore Sadar and Tirtol by-elections in Odisha, political parties across the spectrum have raised their campaign with high-pitched slogans in support of their candidates. The campaign trail has hit fever pitch in both Balasore Sadar and Tirtol assembly constituencies.

The three major political parties BJD, BJP and Congress are vying with one another to prove their mettle and capture the seats. The heavy weight leaders of the respective parties and star campaigners, along with their candidates are leaving no stone unturned in reaching out to the masses with door to door approach, mass rallies and virtual rallies to garner votes.

BJP’s heavyweight leaders including union minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Pratap Sarangi and Party’s national spokesperson and Bhubaneswar MP, Aparajita Sarangi are toiling hard to hold the fort begging votes for Manas Dutta. Puri MLA Jayanta Sarangi was also seen campaigning for the party candidate Manas by riding a cycle. Other BJP leaders and supporters also joined with Jayanta in their door-to-door campaigning. Congress has also intensified the campaign for its candidate Mamata Kundu. State Congress leaders are seen busy in door to door campaigns. Similarly, in Tirtol, more than 40 BJP leaders including party state president Samir Mohanty are campaigning hard for electoral success.

At a time when the campaigning has already scaled high pitch the absence of the BJP’s national vice president Baijayant Panda from the campaigning scene has puzzled many senior journalists and political observers both in Balasore, Jagatsinghpur and Bhubaneswar.

Why is Baijayant not campaigning in the bypolls? Is he not enjoying good terms with other leaders in BJP or his recent controversial tweets comparing Odisha police with that of Pakistan has dent his image and national leaders did not want to take risk to field him in the campaigning trial.

A Balasore based political observer who didn’t want to be named, said that Baijayant Panda’s recent controversy on tweets or the controversy surrounded with OTV has not gone well with the Odisha people. And his campaigning may have a negative impact on the party’s prospects in the bypolls. That could be another possible reason for his absence in the campaigning.

Adding fuel, many political observers speculate that he might not have good relationship with the State leaders and other heavyweights in the party and that’s why he is not campaigning in the polls.

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