Odisha

Bargarh Battle In Odisha: Can Fresher Parineeta Take On Seasoned Campaigners Pradip & Sanjay ?

By
OB Bureau

Bargarh: With the major political parties giving momentum to their campaign for the upcoming elections in Odisha, Bargarh Lok Sabha constituency is poised to witness a keen contest this time amid changing configurations in the constituency. The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) as well as opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress have nominated new faces in the politically important seat this time.

The Naveen Patnaik-led party has fielded Parineeta Mishra, a political greenhorn who joined the ruling outfit after quitting BJP, apparently in its bid to play the woman card. While BJP has nominated former MLA Pradip Purohit in place of sitting MP Suresh Pujari, Congress has fielded Sanjay Bjoi, who had won the Lok Sabha seat in 2009 elections. Now one has to wait and see whether Parineeta will be able to put up a formidable challenge to political veterans like Pradip and Sanjay in the upcoming poll battle.

As the political parties gear up for the crucial battle, observers point out how the Bargarh Parliamentary seat witnessed split voting in 2019 polls. Though BJD nominees won from all the seven Assembly segments under the constituency, the result for Lok Sabha seat came as a surprise. BJP nominee Suresh Pujari, whose track record in electoral politics was not quite impressive, defeated BJD stalwart Prasanna Acharya by a margin of around 64,000 votes last time. Probably this promoted BJD to adopt a new strategy in selecting its candidate for the Lok Sabha seat. Instead of reposing faith in its senior leaders for taking on BJP stalwart Pradip, the regional party decided to field Parineeta, wife of former BJP Bargarh district vice-president Susanta Mishra from the seat overlooking the claims of several aspirants.

Parineeta was announced as BJD candidate hours after she joined the ruling party along with husband Susanta. Her nomination triggered resentment among BJD leaders including former MP Prabhas Kumar Singh, who quit the regional outfit and joined BJP.

Observers also point out that BJD and BJP have never repeated a candidate in the three elections the constituency has seen after its creation after 2008 delimitation. In fact, BJD veteran Prasanna Acharya was also unwilling to contest the Lok Sabha election this time. With the voting pattern remaining highly unpredictable, BJP decided to field Pradip in Bargarh Lok Sabha seat, while Suresh Pujari will contest from Brajrajnagar Assembly segment which comes within the Parliamentary constituency. Suresh Pujari had contested from Brajrajnagar Assembly seat unsuccessfully in 2009.

Congress, on its part, has fielded former MP Sanjay Bhoi from the seat. Sanjay had won the Lok Sabha seat in 2009 and Congress seems to be trying to bag Kulta votes by fielding him as he belongs to the same caste. Sanjay also happens to be the son of Krupasindhu Bhoi who was a four-time MP from Sambalpur Lok Sabha seat and won from Padampur Assembly segment twice.

However, Congress votes appear to have shifted to BJD and BJP over the last two decades and the grand old party cannot be certain about securing substantial support in the area.

A known face in Bargarh, BJP’s Pradip has been in the news for his hard-hitting attack on the BJD government in Odisha and efficient organising skills in the saffron party. During the electioneering, he will be highlighting the various development and welfare programmes being implemented by the Narendra Modi government. BJP will also make all out efforts to capitalise on the support it had received from the voters in the Parliamentary constituency.

Pradip, who had won the Assembly polls in 2014, was defeated by BJD’s Barsha Singh Bariha in the by-election held in 2022. The ruling BJD has sought to play the woman card by fielding Parineeta in a surprise move to take on stalwarts like Pradip and Sanjay. Despite being a political novice, Parineeta will highlight the slew of development and welfare schemes being taken up by the Naveen Patnaik government in the state. She will be banking heavily on the image of the Chief Minister and his popularity.

OB Bureau

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