Odisha Elections 2024: JMM Role Decisive In Mayurbhanj LS Seat

Baripada: An intense battle is being witnessed this time in the tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj Lok Sabha constituency where Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had emerged victorious in 2019 elections. However, the saffron party has dropped sitting MP and Union Minister Bishweswar Tudu and fielded Rairangpur MLA Naba Charan Majhi in the seat. Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has nominated heavyweight leader Sudam Marndi in Mayurbhanj. Similarly, former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s sister Anjani Soren is in the fray as Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) candidate. While BJP is making all out efforts to retain the seat, BJP is working round-the-clock to snatch it from the saffron party. Observers are of the view that JMM votes will be playing a decisive role in June 1 polls.

Naba Vs Sudam

Despite the presence of JMM in the race, it is going to be a straight fight between BJP and BJD in Mayurbhanj. Bangiriposi MLA and School and Mass Education Minister has a robust support base with a good urganisational network in most parts of the constituency. BJD posted an impressive show in the last pancyanat as well as urban bodies polls under his leadership and the ruling party is likely to derive considerable benefit from it. On the other hand, Naba Charan Majhi is leaving no stone unturned in his bit to taste second electoral victory in the birthplace of President Droupadi Murmu. He has been holding marathon campaign along with his supporters.

JMM Holds Key

Like last elections, JMM has fielded Anjani Soren, who had polled around 1,35,000 votes in 2019. JMM had last won Mayurbhanj in 2004 when Sudam Marndi was its prominent face in the constituency. Sudam subsequently quit JMM and joined the ruling BJD. His entry strengthened the regional party but led to division in JMM votes. The poll outcome in Mayurbhanj will depend to a great extent on the number of votes Anjani is able to bag this time. She is likely to get some sympathy votes as her brother and former Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren is in jail.

Prestige Fight

Mayurbhanj being the home district of President Droupadi Murmu, the Lok Sabha election has turned out to be a prestige battle for BJP. Moreover, the constituency is of immense significance for BJP as it is on the border with Jharkhand, where JMM and Congress wield considerable influence. Therefore, the saffron party is going full steam to further consolidate its supremacy in Mayurbhanj. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is BJP’s number one star campaigner, hit the campaign trail in Mayurbhanj to garner support for saffron party candidates. Modi addressed a huge rally at the Chhau Ground in Baripada, where BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik had also campaigned for the regional party. Top leaders of BJP, including Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, are working round-the-clock to boost the poll prospects of the saffron party in the constituency.

Complex Assembly Equations

Mayurbhanj Lok Sabha constituency comprises seven Assembly segments of Jashipur, Saraskana, Rairangpur, Bangiriposi, Udala, Baripada and Morada. Of the seven Assembly seats, five were won by BJD, while BJP candidates emerged victorious in Bangiriposi and Morada in 2019 elections. However, both the parties are hit by resentment among leaders over ticket distribution and other issues, which may upset the voting arithmetic to a great extent.

Tribal voters will play a significant role in deciding the electoral fortunes of candidates in Mayurbhanj. While BJD is telling tribal voters about the work done for them, BJP is promising ‘Modi Ki Guarantee.’ Amid an anti-establishment mood among people across the state, BJP is banking heavily on the wave in favour of Modi. All eyes are now set on Mayurbhanj to see if BJP is able to retain the tribal-dominated seat.

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