No Cakewalk For BJD In Mayurbhanj LS Polls

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With campaigning for the final phase polls in Odisha coming to end on Saturday evening, the fate of the Lok Sabha candidates of the three major parties in Mayurbhanj hangs in balance.

Going by the previous poll results, the ruling BJD had a miserable show in the panchayat polls of 2017 in Mayurbhanj district, getting a meagre five out of 56 seats while the BJP had swept the polls with 49 seats.

It now remains to be seen whether the saffron party will be able to maintain its winning spree in the Lok Sabha polls and prevail over its arch-rival BJD, which had a clean sweep in this north Odisha district winning the Lok Sabha and all the seven Assembly seats in 2014.

One cannot easily rule out the prospects of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) which had won the Lok Sabha seat in 2004. However, backed by the Congress this time, JMM is a threat to both to BJP and BJD.

Out of eight candidates contesting the Mayurbhanj Lok Sabha seats, the fight would be among Debasis Marandi (BJD), Biseswar Tudu (BJP) and Anjali Soren (JMM).

While the BJD has replaced the sitting MP, Rama Chandra Hansda with Debasis Marandi, a practicing doctor by profession, who had contested this seat on JMM ticket in 2014 (and lost the election), BJP has picked Biseswar, an engineer, as its candidate while Anjali is the daughter of the JMM supremo Sibu Soren.

In terms of sharing of votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, BJD had 37 per cent while the BJP and the JMM had 26 and 16 per cent respectively. The Congress had also not fared badly as it had secured 14 per cent votes.

In all the seven Assembly segments of Jashipur, Saraskana, Rairangpur, Bangiriposi, Udala, Baripada and Morada, the BJD had a lead over BJP. However, in the panchayat polls, BJP had won all Zilla Parishad zones in these constituencies.

The political equation in Morada has changed this time as two-time BJD MLA Praveen Bhanj Deo has switched over to BJP.

After its drubbing in the panchayat polls, the BJD is desperately trying to salvage its sagging image. It has partly succeeded in its effort by winning the Bijatala Zilla Parishad zone by-poll recently beating BJD by a wide margin of votes.

While Debasis has experience in contesting elections, neither Anjani nor Biseswar has any experience as they are contesting the election for the first time.

The BJD had projected Debasis as its candidate for the Mayurbhanj Lok Sabha seat about one-and-a-half year ago. After joining BJD, the party has appointed him as chairman of the Special Development Council (SDC) in an attempt to win the trust of the tribals and restructure the party organization at the grassroots level.

While Debasis has managed to reach out to the people through various programmes as the SDC chairperson, Anjali solely banks on the pocket vote of the JMM, while Biseswar hopes to sail through with the Modi wave.

Going by the mood of the people as of now, the BJD will have a keen contest with the BJP in Mayurbhanj, feel political experts.

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