Kendrapara, April 29 (LocalWire): BJD leaders are once again scrambling for a ticket to the Patkura Assembly seat, where by-election will take place on 19 May after voting was cancelled due to the death of party candidate Bed Prakash Agarwalla on 20 April.
After the end of elections in Kendrapada on Monday, many ticket seekers rushed to Bhubaneswar to meet BJD president Naveen Patnaik and other senior party leaders in the hope to get the party ticket from this prestigious Assembly segment.
Sanjay Agrawalla, Bedaprakash’s son, is keen to contest from Patkura. But other BJD leaders are also front-runners for the ticket, including Tejeswar Parida the chairman of Village and Khadi Board and other local BJD leaders like Rabi Samal, Pramod Sahoo and an educationalist professor Ajay Rout.
Six-time MLA, 82-year-old Bedaprkash Agrawalla was seriously ill and undergoing treatment when he got the Patkura ticket. The Chief Minister’s decision to give BJD ticket to Bedaprakash contest from the prestigious Patkura seat was questioned by many.
After two days of filing his nomination papers, Bedaprakash was shifted to a private hospital in Bhubaneswar, where he died on 20 April, nine days before the poll.
Bedaprakash was popular for his impeccable integrity and unblemished track record in public life. He was a protege of Biju Patnaik. In a bid to cash in on the sympathy wave, the BJD may nominate his son, daughter or widow as candidate, said Anambandhu Dhal, a senior BJD leader and the chairman of Kendrapada block.
But the candidates from the Opposition, both BJP candidate Bijay Mohapatra and Congress candidate Jayant Mohanty claimed there was no sympathy wave.
A small percentage of voters might get carried away but by and large, there is no such trend among the voters, who are determined to elect BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra from Patkura, said Durodhan Sahoo the president of the district unit of BJP.
‘Sanjay Agrawalla is a greenhorn in politics and it would be difficult for him to fight the elections against Mohapatra. Any other senior leader might be fielded from Patkura,’ said a BJD leader of Kendrapara.
But Sanjay is hopeful of a party ticket and confident of taking his father’s legacy forward.
‘My father had developed a bond for over 40 years with his constituency. He developed the area. I would like to continue his legacy,’ said Sanjay.
This by-poll is crucial for both the BJP and BJD as Mohapatra is a senior BJP leader and bete noire of Naveen Patnaik.
In 2000, Patnaik had denied Mohapatra a ticket from Patkura at the last moment. In 2004, BJD candidate Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak defeated Orissa Gana Parisada candidate Bijaya Mohapatra.
In 2009 Assembly polls BJD leader Bedprakash Agrawalla defeated BJP candidate Mohapatra by a margin of 26,735 votes. In 2014, Nayak again defeated him from Mahakalapada.