Koraput, April 1 (LocalWire): The fight for the Nabarangpur Lok Sabha seat is all set for an intense, climactic potboiler as the candidates of the ruling party and its opposition are not inclined to let go even an inch of breathing space to their opponents.
Balabhadra Majhi, the sitting MP sauntered across to the BJP camp after the ruling party denied him ticket. The BJD has instead fielded its tribal welfare minister Ramesh Majhi and the Congress candidate is former MP from Nabarangpur Pradeep Majhi.
A confident Ramesh said, ‘The entire Malkangiri district has witnessed a sea change in the last five years. The electorate’s demand of a cut-off area of a bridge over river Gurupriya was fulfilled last year and the state government will also connect Malkangiri by rail.’
According to the BJD candidate, more than 1500-kilometre-stretch of new road, 21 bridges, commissioning of a 300-bed hospital and 45 more doctors have been posted in the district.
‘Three new sub-stations have been constructed and 600 villages have been electrified. These are all indicators of development,’ Ramesh said. ‘I toured Malkangiri district several times as a Cabinet minister and share good rapport with the people. I am confident I will win the election with a huge margin,’ he added.
He also expressed confidence that although Balabhadra was the sitting MP, he was not close to the people and would not be able to create an impact since he was contesting with a BJP ticket.
‘It will be a fight between the BJD and Congress and the BJP is nowhere in the picture. Balabhadra was replaced since he was unpopular among the voters due to his long absence, the minister said.
The Congress candidate, Pradeep Majhi, who had lost the 2014 election to BJD’s Balabhadra with a slender margin of 2,042 votes, is brimming with confidence that he will retain the seat after a gap of five years since he has always been at the beck and call of the people of the constituency.
‘While the state government talks so much on tribal education, it’s unfortunate that over 2,000 tribal students of Malkangiri have dropped out and are unable to join high school as the government is deliberately not providing caste certificate to them,’ alleged Pradeep,
Claiming that construction of roads, schools and electrification of villages are routine development work and no single person can be credited for this, the former Congress MP said the constituency is grappling with irrigation and low-voltage.
‘Only eight percent of agricultural land is irrigated in Nabarangpur. Last time I was narrowly defeated but this time I am confident to win the election,’ he added.
Meanwhile, Balabhadra who switched to the BJP recently said he personally ensured the completion of several development projects in his constituency, especially the rail line from Jeypore to Malkangiri and Jeypore to Nabarangpur.
‘I have worked for the development of my constituency tirelessly but I was denied the party ticket for which I was forced to switch to the BJP. I am confident to win the elections and am sure the BJD will be placed third, said Balabhadra, riding high on the Modi wave.