Odisha Elections 2024: Why All Eyes On Fight In Chitrakonda Assembly Seat?

Malkangiri: Once considered a Maoist hotbed in Odisha, Chitrakonda Assembly constituency in Malkangiri district is all set to witness a keen contest in the upcoming elections. Major political parties are gearing up for the battle following announcement of their candidates after a lot of permutation and combination. With Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) entering into the fray, Chitrakonda is all set to witness an interesting multi-cornered contest this time.

In its bid to retain the seat which is reserved for ST, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has nominated Laxmi Priya Nayak, niece of sitting Chitrakonda MLA Purna Chandra Baka despite opposition from several party leaders and workers. Similarly, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded Dambru Sisa to contest the polls as its candidate. Congress has fielded Mangu Khila in the constituency.

While AAP has nominated former police officer Sarat Chandra Buruda, who was earlier denied a ticket by Congress, CPI-M has fielded Raghunath Hantal from Chitrakonda.

BJD nominee Laxmi Priya Nayak had unsuccessfully contested her uncle Baka in 2019 elections as a Congress candidate. She stood second by securing an impressive 38,647 votes against 41,192 votes polled by Baka. The same year, she quit Congress and joined BJD. Nayak is stated to be the only woman candidate in the poll fray in Chitrakonda where female voters outnumber the males. This may help the ruling party retain the tribal seat.

Former MLA Dambaru Sisa was earlier aspiring for a BJD ticket. After being denied nomination by BJD, he resigned from the regional party and joined BJP. Sisa was elected from Chitrakonda in 2014 as a BJD candidate. However, the Naveen Patnaik-led party had denied him a ticket in 2019 elections.

BJP is making all out efforts to snatch the seat from BJD this time by highlighting the works done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the failure of the BJD government in the state.
Congress, which pocketed Chitrakonda at least six times in the past, is also leaving no stone unturned to taste victory in the seat this time. However, the AAP nominee is stated to be eyeing for the traditional Congress votes in the constituency.

The AAP candidate is trying to woo voters by highlighting the success of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s model of governance. CPM’s Hantal is also trying to impress the voters by accusing BJD, BJP and Congress of neglecting people, particularly tribals.

Considering the complexities of the political landscape and rapidly changing configurations in the area, observers are of the view that the battle in Chitrakonda is going to be a tough one this time. The victory margin is likely to be reduced further because of the multi-pronged fight and it would not be a cakewalk for any candidate this time.

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