BHUNABESWAR: Odisha is expected to witness a triangular battle between the ruling BJD, BJP and Congress in the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha polls scheduled to be held on April 29.
The polls will be held for Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur Lok Sabha constituencies and 41 Assembly segments under them.
Fifty-two candidates are in the fray for the six Lok Sabha seats while 336 candidates including 34 female and one belonging to the third gender, are contesting for the Assembly segments, said an election official.
A total of 95.14 lakh voters are eligible to cast their ballots in 10,792 booths. Out of the total voters, 49.08 lakh are male, 46.05 lakh female and 615 third gender.
As the campaign has gained momentum, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is trying to retain the six Lok Sabha seats it had won in 2014 polls. The coastal state has been a bastion of the regional party.
An intense battle will be witnessed in Kendrapara where Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national vice-president Baijayant Panda will lock horns with BJD Rajya Sabha MP and Odia actor Anubhav Mohanty.
Congress has repeated its candidate Dharanidhar Nayak from the seat.
In 2014, Panda contesting on the BJD ticket had emerged victorious by securing 6,01,574 votes against Nayak, who had secured 3,92,466 votes.
In Mayurbhanj, BJD`s Debashis Marndi is fighting against BJP candidate Bishweswar Tudu and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha`s (JMM) Anjani Soren, daughter of party chief Sibu Soren. Anjani is the JMM-Congress alliance candidate from the seat.
BJD has denied a ticket to its sitting MP Ramachandra Hansda this time following his alleged involvement in the chit fund scam.
The Balasore seat will witness a triangular fight between the Congress, BJP and BJD. Sitting BJD MP Rabindra Kumar Jena will fight against BJP`s Pratap Sarangi and Navajyoti Patnaik, son of Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president Niranjan Patnaik.
In the 2014 elections, Jena had secured 4,33,768 votes against Sarangi, who managed to get 2,91,943.
It`s all about family politics in the Bhadrak Lok Sabha constituency.
Avimanyu Sethi, son of sitting MP Arjun Sethi, is contesting from Bhadrak Lok Sabha on BJP ticket. The senior Sethi quit the BJD and joined BJP after his son was denied a party ticket.
The BJD has fielded Manjulata Mandal, spouse of sitting Dhamnagar MLA Muktikanta Mandal from the seat. Congress has fielded Madhumita Sethi, daughter of senior Congress leader Ananta Charan Sethi.
Arjun Sethi, an eight-time MP, won the seat with total polling of 5,02,338 votes in his favour against Congress candidate Sangram Keshari Jena, who had secured 3,22,979 in 2014 polls.
In Jajpur, BJD has fielded former state administrative officer Sarmistha Sethi, denying s party ticket to sitting MP Rita Tarai. BJP`s Amiya Kanta Mallick and Congress` Manas Jena are making all-out efforts to breach the impregnable BJD bastion.
BJD candidates have won from the Jajpur seat since 1999 reserved for the members of Scheduled Caste.
In 2014, Rita Tarai defeated Congress leader Ashok Das by a margin of 3.20 lakh votes.
In Jagatsinghpur, BJD MLA from Tirtol Rajashri Mallick`s is up against BJP`s Bibhu Prasad Tarai and Congress` Pratima Mallick.
Kulamani Samal from the BJD had won the seat with 6,24,492 votes against Tarai`s 3,48,098 votes. Tarai joined the BJP in the first week of April.
In Assembly segments, several ministers including Prafulla Samal (Bhandaripokhari), Anant Das (Bhograi), Shashi Bhusan Behera (Kendrapara), and Pratap Jena (Mahanga) are contesting in the fourth phase.
PCC president Niranjan Patnaik is fighting from Bhandaripokhari seat against Minister Prafulla Samal.