Bhaskar Parichha

The battle between the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Kandhamal is expected to be intense, making it a key area of interest for pollsters and political analysts. The outcome of the elections in Kandhamal remains uncertain, as the political landscape in the state continues to evolve.

The Kandhamal Lok Sabha constituency comprises of four districts in Odisha – Boudh, Ganjam, Kandhamal, and Nayagarh. As per the 2011 census, the population of this region is 17,01,708. Within the Kandhamal Lok Sabha, there are seven Assembly seats – Baliguda, G. Udayagiri, Phulbani, which are reserved for the Scheduled Tribes, and the remaining seats are Kantamal, Boudh, Bhanjanagar, and Daspalla, which are reserved for the Scheduled Castes.

BJD Stronghold
Since its establishment, the Kandhamal Lok Sabha constituency has consistently been a stronghold for the BJD party. The ruling party has introduced new candidates in each Parliamentary election, and this strategy has consistently garnered support from the voters.

In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the regional party nominated Rudramadhab Ray, who secured victory for the BJD. In 2014, the BJD changed its candidate and put forward Hemendra Singh, who emerged as the winner. After Singh’s unfortunate demise, the BJD fielded his wife, Pratyusha Rajeswari, in the by-election, and she secured victory as the ruling party candidate.

The victory of Achyutananda Samanta in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections marked a significant moment for the BJD party in the Kandhamal constituency. Samanta, a well-known philanthropist and educationist, was able to secure a substantial number of votes, showcasing his popularity among the people of Kandhamal.

On the other hand, the BJP and Congress candidates, Kharabela Swain and Manoj Kumar Acharya respectively, were unable to match Samanta’s strong performance. This has led to speculation and uncertainty about the future of the Kandhamal Lok Sabha seat, as both parties strategize and plan their next moves to secure victory in the upcoming elections.

The Kandhamal constituency holds political significance due to its diverse population and complex social dynamics. It has been a battleground for various political parties in the past, with each vying for control over this crucial seat. The outcome of the next election in Kandhamal will not only impact the political landscape of Odisha but also have broader implications for the national political scenario.

Voters’ Role
As the parties gear up for the next election, the competition for the Kandhamal Lok Sabha seat is expected to intensify. Both the BJP and Congress will campaign vigorously to win over the voters in this region. The people of Kandhamal will play a crucial role in determining the outcome of the election, as they weigh their options and make an informed decision on who will best represent their interests in the Lok Sabha.

Overall, the uncertainty surrounding the Kandhamal Lok Sabha seat adds an element of intrigue to the political landscape in Odisha. The upcoming election will be closely watched by political analysts and observers, as they analyze the strategies and tactics employed by the parties to secure victory in this hotly contested constituency.

Samanta, the founder of a renowned network of educational institutions such as KIIT, KISS, and KIMS hospital, is widely recognized for his remarkable dedication to providing free education to numerous underprivileged tribal students residing in remote areas of the state. The people of Kandhamal have consistently expressed their deep admiration and fondness for Samanta, who has initiated various initiatives within this tribal-dominated district. In light of his exceptional organizational abilities and talents, he has been granted the ticket as a testament to his remarkable contributions.

The political scenario in Kandhamal is currently witnessing a surge in activity as the saffron party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has selected Sukanta Panigrahi as its candidate for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Panigrahi, who had previously faced defeat in the 2014 polls, is now focusing on development issues in the region to gain support from the voters.

Panigrahi’s campaign is centered around addressing key concerns such as the improvement of the road network, transportation facilities, communication infrastructure, drinking water supply, and irrigation systems in Kandhamal. By highlighting these issues, Panigrahi aims to attract the attention and support of the electorate.

Modi Factor
One of the factors working in Panigrahi’s favor is the strong backing he receives from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the initiatives undertaken by the Central government. With the support of the ruling party at the national level, Panigrahi hopes to make a significant impact in the constituency and secure victory in the elections.

On the other hand, the Congress party, which has been struggling with a shrinking base in recent years, has nominated Amir Chand Nayak as its candidate for the Lok Sabha elections in Kandhamal. The Congress party, once a dominant force in the region, is now facing challenges in maintaining its political relevance.

(Mr Parichha is a senior journalist, author and columnist. Views are personal.)