Bhubaneswar, Apr 15 UNI | 4 months ago

The high voltage campaign in the politically sensitive coastal and north Odisha came to an end today to decide the electoral fortune of 98 Lok Sabha and 747 assembly aspirants.

Elections to the ten Lok Sabha and 70 Assembly seats were held in the first phase on April 10 last and passed off peacefully barring stray incidents of snatching and burning of EVM machines by the Maoists.

Notwithstanding the blistering heatwave condition sweeping across the western and southern Odisha and Maoist threat to boycott the poll, over 75 per cent voters turned out to exercise their franchise in the first phase.

Election to the remaining 11 Lok Sabha and 77 Assembly seats would be held in the second and final phase on April 17 next to decide the fate of total 845 candidates.

Repolling will be held in 22 polling booths on April 17 which was cancelled in the first phase of polling on April 10 last due to snatching and burning of EVM machines by the Maoists and disturbances in some polling booths.

About 1,55,05,525 electorates, spread over 13 districts would exercise their franchise in 18,692 polling booths.

Prominent among those in the fray for Lok Sabha are Union Minister of Chemical and fertilizer Srikant Jena(Balasore), former Union Minister Arjun Charan Sethy (Bhadrak), Editor of Dharitri and Orissa Post Tathagat Satpathy (Dhenkanal), Ollywood stars Aparajita Mohanty (Cuttack) and Bijaya Mohanty(Bhubaneswar) and sitting BJD MP Baijant Panda (Kendrapada).

As many as six BJD sitting MPs were seeking re-election from their constituency as the ruling BJD dropped three sitting MPs and fielded new candidates for Jaipur, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj Lok Sabha seats.

The second phase Assembly elections will witness a big battle for ballots with the presence of eight council of Ministers of Naveen Patnaik government, two BJD Rajya Sabha sitting MPs and 17 former Ministers, 12 of them belonged to the BJD and rest five from Congress besides a several sitting MLAs.

Congress chief Jayadeb Jena(Anandpur) and Aam Odisha Party chief Soumya Ranjan Patnaik(Khandpara) will also try their electoral fortune this time in a multi-cornered contest.

BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi and BJD supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik were the star campaigners for their parties who addressed a series of meetings in support of their party candidates during the electioneering. .

All the 11 Lok Sabha seats and 77 Assembly seats will witness a multi corner and multi political party contest this time .

However,the real battle for the ballots in most seats will be confined to the BJD the Congress and the BJP.

Out of 77 Assembly seats,as many as 32 seats will witness a contest of more than 10 candidates.The Moroda Assembly seat will see the highest number of 24 candidates trying their luck followed by Ekamra Bhubaneswar(20) and Rairangpur(17).

Similarly,out of 11 Lok Sabha seats,Dhankanal will see a big fight of 12 candidates followed by ten each in Balasore and Cuttack Lok sabha seat.

The campaign this time has confused the voters due to the presence of turncoats and rebel candidates from BJD, BJP and Congress parties in many constituencies.

Jagatsinghpur sitting MPs Bibhu Prasad Tarai who won the seat as CPI candidate with the support of the ruling BJD in 2009 Lok Sabha elections,has switched over his loyalty and is seeking re-election from the seat as Congress candidate. The high voltage campaign primarily focussed on Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the sole campaigner of the BJD, who came under a vociferous attack from the Congress and the BJP star campaigners for the series of scams, corruption and inefficiency of the government during the last 14 years. While Ms Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi appealed to the voters to give rest to the Naveen Patnaik government and bring back the Congress to power for real development,BJP Prime Ministerial nominee Narendra Modi urged the voters to dislodge the BJD government which failed to fulfill even the basic needs of the people despite ruling the state for 14 long years. On the other hand,BJD supremo tried to project his party as the real strength of people of Odisha and left no stone unturned to cover as many as constituencies in his whirlwind tours describing the central leaders of BJP and the Congress as the migratory birds who come to the state only for votes and shedding crocodile tears in the name of development. All the three major political parties this time tried to rope in Ollywood stars for campaigning in support of their respective candidates. These parties also fielded some prominent stars of the state as their party candidates which surcharged the campaigning atmosphere attracting huge crowds during the road shows and door to door canvassing. Due to heat wave conditions, most of the candidates preferred to hold road shows and focused on small street corners meetings in the early morning and evening hours.

(Posted on 15-04-2014)