Report by Kahnu Nanda; Jagatsinghpur: An uphill task is ahead for the Biju Janata Dal [BJD] in winning Jagatsinghpur assembly constituency as it is a stronghold of the opposition party congress, as the constituency has been pocket borough of the Congress since 2014 polls, meanwhile BJP has been appeared in elections fray making the 2019 polls tough, the constituency will go to polls along with Lok Sabha elections on April 29.
After denying ticket to Bishnu Das a five time MLA for Jagatsinghpur assembly seat, BJD fielded party’s Balikuda- Erasama sitting MLA Prasanta Kumar Muduli suppressing at least 10 aspirants lobbying hard for the seat in 2019 elections, even one main contender for the ticket race Amarendra Das had been gratified giving him Party’s district president post with a motive covering dissention, but a week fast for the elections BJD has become unable consolidate its votes, the elections campaign process is powerless to woo voters, even the candidate has failed to reach many Panchchayt’s spreading the constituency as the contesting BJD candidate Muduli is new comer to constituency.
In 2014 elections congress candidate Chiranjib Biswal had won the seat defeating BJD’s heavyweight Bishnu Das by margin of 2888 votes. In 2009 assembly polls BJD’s Bishnu Das had retained the seat defeating Congress candidate Chiranjib by 10,077 votes. In both elections saffron party BJP had performed slender, its candidates had secured 4.56 percent of votes in 2014 and 3.66 percentage of total votes polled during elections in 2009.
As is evident from the results of Jagatsinghpur assembly elections, the voters had exercised their preference for a particular candidate Bishnu Das who had held sway over the constituency winning five elections starting from 1990 till 2009 elections as candidate of the BJD and Janata Dal.
The Dalit man Bishnu was credited with initiating developmental works in a systematic manner in the constituency and will be remembered formation of new Jagatsinghpur district after carving from erstwhile Cuttack district during late Biju Patnaik chief minister ship tenure 1990- 1995.
After delimitation effected from 2009 Jagatsinghpur constituency decked under general category, in spite of a general constituency BJD fielded Dalit candidate Bishnu Das against congress aspirant Chiranjib Biswal who moved to Jagatsinghpur constituency when his erstwhile Tirtol assembly segment went on SC seat, Bishnu won the elections in a straight fight with Chiranajib. In 2014 elections again Bishnu got BJD ticket for the seat in spite of a strong displeasure among few BJD sympathizers citing the reason that upper caste of the constituency were not happy with Bishnu’s candidature in a general seat.
Bishnu buried all speculations and dared that Jagatsinghpur is still my bastion, the constituency was well nurtured during my five terms MLA tenure, so 2014 elections was a testing time for the Bishnu Das to see whether his popularity was intact with constituency. Sadly Bishnu lost the elections against congress candidate with a slender margin 2888 votes.
Bishnu’s post defeat scenario had described by the political observers that due to intra party activities and his over confidence he defeated in 2014 elections, but did not overlook the reason that Bishnu’s candidature in a general seat when a sizable upper caste votes shifted to congress and independent candidates.
The pre 2019 elections speculations in BJD had pushed Bishnu shifting to Tirtol assembly segment which was under reserved category as consequence he had launched home works past two years, later declined contesting from Jagatsinghpru constituency, finally got party ticket after disturbing sitting MLA Rajashree Mallick who elevated contesting for Jagatsinghpur Lok sabha seat in 2019 elections.
Bishnu’s departure from Jagatsinghpur constituency put BJD a grave task selecting a suitable candidate amongst at least a dozen had been applied for party ticket. Interestingly during three decades political carrier Bishnu had never groom any one fielding his successor in Jagatsinghpur.
Later under pressure he supported a ticket aspirant BJD’s youth wing president Amarendra Das giving party ticket for the Jagastinghpur seat but party higher ups declined to act over Bishnu’s wish later gave ticket to Balikuda- Erasama sitting MLA Prasanta Muduli who was virtually not happy with party’s arrangements.
Trouble surfaced among BJD strips, many opposed Muduli’s candidature, and disgruntled Amarendra hit the streets taking his supporters, demanded reconsidering his ticket. Later party seniors pacified Amarendra’s dissent, posted him as BJD district president axing Bishnu Das.
Muduli’s major woes affecting him that he was a new comer and unknown about the Panchayat’s set up of the constituency as consequence depending local BJD leaders. On the other hand fighting against congress working president and sitting MLA Chirnajib Biswal who is putting all his resource and connecting with voters to retain the constituency.
Meanwhile Bishnu Das has been hospitalized following his illness soon after his nominations. He was unable to tour his Tirtol constituency under strict medical supervision. So there was less possibility Bishnu would be campaigned for Muduli in Jagatsinghpur. Political observers viewed that Muduli is facing an uphill task, banking on Bishnu Das supporters over-passing elections.