Bhubaneswar:April 26 (LocalWire) Odisha will witness a triangular battle between the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress in the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha elections on April 29.
BJD has intensified its campaign in the coastal belt, which has been a bastion of the regional party, to retain all six Lok Sabha seats it had won in the 2014 elections.
Fourth phase polls will be held for Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur Lok Sabha constituencies and 41 Assembly segments under them.
A total of 52 candidates are in the fray for the six parliamentary seats, while 336 candidates, including 34 female and one belonging to the third gender, are contesting for the assembly seats.
Of some 95 lakh eligible voters, around 49 lakh are male, 46 lakh female, and 615 are third genders.
A total of 10,792 booths have been set up for the fourth phase.
An intense battle will be witnessed in Kendrapara where BJP national vice-president Baijayant Panda will lock horns with BJD Rajya Sabha MP and Odia actor Anubhav Mohanty.
Congress has re-nominated Dharanidhar Nayak from the seat. In the 2014 elections, Panda had won the seat on a BJD ticket by 6,01,574 votes against Nayak, who had secured 3,92,466 votes.
In Mayurbhanj, BJD’s Debashis Marndi is fighting against BJP candidate Bishweshwar Tudu and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha’s (JMM) Anjani Soren, daughter of party chief Shibu Soren. Anjani is a joint candidate of the JMM-Congress combine from the seat.
Balasore will witness a triangular fight between Congress, BJP, and BJD. Sitting BJD MP Rabindra Kumar Jena will fight against BJP’s Pratap Sarangi and Navajyoti Patnaik, son of Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president Niranjan Patnaik.
In Bhadrak, the battle will be between two politically-connected families. Avimanyu Sethi, son of sitting MP Arjun Sethi, is contesting on a BJP ticket. The senior Sethi had quit BJD to join BJP after his son was denied ticket by the regional party.
BJD has fielded Manjulata Mandal, spouse of sitting Dhamnagar MLA Muktikanta Mandal from the seat, while Congress has fielded Madhumita Sethi, daughter of senior Congress leader Ananta Charan Sethi.
In the 2014 elections, Arjun Sethi, an eight-time MP, had won the Bhadrak seat with 5,02,338 votes against Congress’ Sangram Keshari Jena, who had secured 3,22,979.
In its stronghold Jajpur, BJD has fielded former state administrative officer Sarmistha Sethi instead of sitting MP Rita Tarai. BJP’s Amiya Kanta Mallick and Congress’ Manas Jena are contesting Sethi.
The reserved Scheduled Caste seat has been with BJD since 1999.
In Jagatsinghpur, BJD MLA from Tirtol Rajashri Mallick is up against BJP’s Bibhu Prasad Tarai and Congress’ Pratima Mallick. Kulamani Samal from BJD had won the seat with 6,24,492 votes against Tarai’s 3,48,098 votes. Tarai had joined the BJP in the first week of April.
Several ministers are in the fray for the assembly seats, including Prafulla Samal from Bhandaripokhari, Anant Das from Bhograi, Shashi Bhusan Behera from Kendrapara and Pratap Jena from Mahanga. State Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik will fight against state minister Prafulla Samal from Bhandaripokhari.