Lok Sabha Seat-Sharing In Odisha: What Will Happen To Baijayant Panda If BJD Bags Kendrapada?

Bhubaneswar: As alliance talks between Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hang in balance, voters in the politically sensitive Kendrapada Lok Sabha constituency appear to be eagerly waiting for an early announcement on the outcome of negotiations between the two parties.

Political observers as well as common people are keen to know as to which party will bag the Lok Sabha seat and field its candidate in the event of BJD and BJP firm up an electoral alliance for the upcoming simultaneous Parliamentary and Assembly elections in the state.

Hard bargaining is likely to take place for the Lok Sabha seat in coastal Odisha as both BJD and BJP appear to be keen to grab it. In 2019 elections, Kendrapada Lok Sabha constituency witnessed a high-profile contest between actor Anubhav Mohanty of BJD and BJP’s Baijayant Panda. All wonder as to whether the two political parties will repeat the same candidates in 2024 polls if the alliance talks fail. Many are of the view that the constituency is all set to see a fight between new faces this time.

In case of an alliance between the BJD and BJP, no one certain about the outcome of seat-sharing deal. It is hard to guess whether BJD or BJP will field the candidate in Kendrapada where the political equations have undergone tremendous change in the last five years.

The political atmosphere in the politically important constituency is gradually warming up as Kendrapada was once considered a stronghold of legendary leader and former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik. Kendrapada witnessed the state’s most high-voltage battle in 2019 elections. BJD’s Anubhav Mohanty had polled over 6.28 lakh votes, defeating BJP’s Baijayant Panda who bagged around 4.47 lakh votes.

However, the political configuration in the constituency has changed in the last five years. The ruling BJD appears to have distanced itself from sitting MP Anubhav after he was embroiled in a marital dispute. Chances of the regional party re-nominating him look unlikely. On the other hand, Baijayant Panda has emerged as an important figure in BJP in national politics. However, the BJP national vice president and former MP has not been very active in the area of late. As he has been appointed in-charge for the Uttar Pradesh Lok Sabha elections, observers feel that BJP may look for a new face in his place.

There is a feeling that BJD is keen to bag the Kendrapada Lok Sabha seat, considered to be its stronghold. Since the formation of BJD, the party has never faced defeat in Kendrapada. Therefore, the regional party does not want to give up its bastion even if an alliance is forged.

Secondly, the party wants to oust Bijayant Panda from the turf.  The ruling party is also hopeful of major electoral gains from the huge investment being made in the industrial sector in the region.

ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India (AM/NS India) plans to establish a 14 MTPA integrated steel plant in Phase 1 in Kendrapada with an investment of Rs 1,34,004 crore and proposed capacity expansion up to 24 MTPA.

AM/NS India has also signed an MoU with the government of Odisha for setting up a 7 MTPA integrated steel plant at Paradip in neighbouring Jagatsinghpur district with an estimated investment of Rs 38,000 crore.

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Comments are closed.