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Battle Begins For Jharsuguda

Bhubaneswar: With the issuance of formal notification and nomination of candidates by three principal parties, battle begins for by-election to Jharsuguda Assembly seat.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Odisha Nikunja Bihari Dhal has issued the notification for the by-poll on Thursday.

The seat of Naba Kishore Das, in the Odisha Legislative Assembly elected from 07–Jharsuguda Assembly Constituency has fallen vacant on 30th January, 2023 due to his sudden demise. The bye-election is to be held for the purpose of filling the said vacancy, read the notification.

By-election to the Assembly constituency will be held on May 10 while the result will be declared on May 13.

The Governing Biju Janata Dal (BJD) was the first party to announce its candidate for the by-poll. The BJD has nominated slain Minister and late MLA Naba Kishore Das’s daughter Dipali for the crucial by-election.

Dipali has already begun campaigning in the Assembly segment following the demise of his father. Though management graduate Dipali (27) will debut in an electoral battle, she has been active in political and social activities for the past few years.

She was often seen in public with her late father. She is considered Naba’s political heir even when he was alive. After her father’s death, Dipali and her brother Vishal (29), also a management graduate who looks after their family business, have been attending many grassroots political and social events in Jharsuguda. BJD sources said Dipali’s candidature is aimed at drawing sympathy votes.

Eying for a good margin win, the BJD has appointed three very senior leaders and a dozen of other leaders including ministers as observers for the by-poll. The party has prepared a strategy to reach each and every voter of the constituency ahead of the voting day.   

The Congress has nominated Tarun Pandey, son of ex-MLA of the area, Birendra Pandey, as its candidate for the by-election. Former Jharsuguda MLA late Birendra Pandey. Birendra was elected to the Odisha House three times from the Jharsuguda segment in 1980, 1985 and 1995.   

As expected, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has nominated its young leader Tankadhar Tripathy for the by-election. Tankadhar, a former State President of BJP Yuva Morcha and has been campaigning in the area following the murder of Naba Das. This will be the first electoral debut of Shri Tripathy.

All three parties have fielded young, educated and fresh faces for the by-poll. The BJD and Congress have nominated daughter/son of former MLAs from Jharsuguda to gain sympathy votes while BJP is fighting the election with law and order situation especially the brutal murder of ex-Minister Naba Das.

The ruling party will reach the voters with the developmental work done by the BJD Government and Late MLA Naba Das.    

The murder of Naba Kisore and failure of the Crime Branch in establishing the motive behind his killing is likely to act as the main poll plank for the opposition BJP to counter the ruling BJD in the Jharsuguda by-poll.

Senior BJD leader and Revenue Minister Pramila Mallik earlier told reporters that the BJD was confident of a victory with a margin of 50,000 votes because of the good work done by Patnaik in the Jharsuguda region as well as the late Minister’s popularity.

Tarun said he will raise issues like air pollution, unemployment and law & order situation during the election.

“I have been involved in politics since 2000. My father is no more and we will miss him in this election. However, we are prepared and will make all efforts to win it,” he said.

In 2019 polls, BJD candidate Naba Das had secured 98,620 (55.97%) votes while BJP’s Dinesh Kumar Jain got 52,921 (30.04%) votes and Congress was in third position with 18,823 (10.68%) votes.

All eyes are now on the poll result as it may put some impact on the next general and Assembly elections to be held early next year.