Kendrapara, July 9 (LocalWire): The placid by-election scene at Patkura Assembly seat in Kendrapara has suddenly become animated as several state ministers and senior BJD leaders have reached Patkura to campaign for BJD candidate Sabitri Agrawalla.
Her biggest hurdle is the internal fissures within the party and therefore, Naveen Patnaik, in an emergency meeting in Bhubaneswar on Saturday tried to mend the weak points within the party to help Sabitri win the election.
Ranendra Pratap Swain a senior leader and minister along with many BJD leaders, ministers and MLAs are camping in Patkura.
The Chief Minister has also shown extra interest in making sure BJD wins in Patkura where his bête noire Bijay Mohapatra is the BJP candidate.
The BJD supremo is likely to campaign for Agarwalla soon.
This election will thus be a testing ground for the popularity of Bijay Mohapatra and the BJD candidate.
Patkura Assembly poll was countermanded following the death of 82-year-old BJD candidate Bed Prakash Agarwalla on 20 April.
Later, BJD nominated Sabitri Agrawalla, his widow to contest from Patkura.
The Election Commission had earlier issued a fresh polling schedule but it was postponed by two months due to cyclone Fani. Patkura voters will decide the fate of the candidates on 20 July.
Patkura is an important Assembly segment for BJP, Congress and the BJD.
A large number of voters are determined to vote for Bijay Mahapatra, said Biswanath Behera, a retired engineer of Kusueapala village.
‘BJD’s hold has slackened as Mohapatra has already made a dent in their bastion,’ said Ganesh Samal, a BJP leader from Patkura.
Bijaya is riding the sympathy wave among many voters as he lost the last three elections from Patkura and once from Mahakalapada.
‘Nobody talks about BJP or Narendra Modi here.
I am not a supporter of Modi but I will vote in favour of Mohapatra.
It is a fight between the CM and him,’ said Pramod Swain of Karilopatana.
Mohapatra is campaigning door to door in Patkura constituency, leaving no stones unturned to defeat BJD candidate Agrawalla.
‘Vote for me and teach Naveen Pattanaik a lesson and let him realise that I cannot be kept out of Odisha politics,’ Mohapatra urges voters.
Although the main contest here is essentially between the BJP and BJD, Congress candidate, Jayant Mohanty is all set to eat away a sizeable number of votes as he has a good base in Derabishi block.
The BJD is also comfortably placed in certain pockets of Derabishi block but the BJP has a strong presence in Garadapur and Marsaghai blocks.