The political scene of Bijepur is getting intense as well as clearer day-by-day as the by-poll is approaching nearer.
After the demise of standing Congress MLA Subal Sahu, his family opted to join BJD. Not only had his family, the NAC Chairperson along with all the members of the NAC joined BJD following his family. Earlier the NAC was under Congress. BJD has declared Ritarani Sahu, wife of late MLA Subal Sahu as the BJD candidate for Bijepur.
BJP has also blown the bigguel by staging a high profile meeting at Barpali featuring both cabinet ministers from Odisha, Dharmendra Pradhan and Jual Oram, BJP Odisha Prabhari and National General Secretary Arun Singh, National Secretary Suresh Pujari, State President Basant Panda where probable BJP candidate Ashok Panigrahi joined with his followers on October 2nd.
Congress party is also active and almost finalized its candidate for the by-poll. Congress is going to field Pranay Kumar Sahu, present Gaisilat block Vice-Chairman and son of Ex-MLA Birendra Kumar Sahu. Pranay is active in the grass root level politics since last 25 years and serving Gaisilat block. The District Vice President Congress has vast experience of grass root organization and politics of more than 2 decades.
BJD is the ruling party of the state and BJP in the Centre. In the last few months gross percentage of vote of BJP has increased. But the candidate has been opposed vehemently by the karyakartas in the party. The District President Narayan Sahu from Gaisilet along with few senior leaders likes Gourahari Mishra, Vice President State Krushak Morcha from Barpali and Halapani Majhi, Secretary State Krushak Morcha from Bijepur is opposing the candidature of newly joined Ashok Panigrahi. The local karyakartas are of the view to select any Karyakarta from the 3 blocks as MLA candidate of BJP; Barpali, Bijepur and Gaisilet; and not to import a new person from any other party who never shared pain and pleasure with the grass root cadre of the party.
Sources are saying Ashok Panigrahi has been planted via Baijayanta Panda who is eyeing Bargarh parliament seat as Kendrapara is no safer to him.
The internal conflict is not less in BJD. The ruling party is facing same crisis like BJP with same issue of candidate importing. The ground workers are unhappy with the decision of the party supremo.
Both the BJD and BJP workers may cross vote. Bijepur is affluent with OBC voters around 70%. Dharmendra Pradhan appealed the Kuilta caste voters in the Barpali meeting, “this election is yours” but the party is fielding a Brahmin candidate. Again both the candidates of BJD and BJP belong to Barpali block, so votes of Barpali will get divided. But Congress candidate belongs to Gaisilet, so he may sweep votes from Gaisilet which is his strong hold. Apart from that he belongs to Kuilta (OBC) community and likely to pull party and caste votes from Barpali and Bijepur without any doubt.
Saket Sreebhushan Sahu comments on politics and culture.