17 July 2019
Bhubaneswar: Like other 147 Assembly Constituencies under the total 21 Parliamentary Constituencies in Odisha, Patkura is also one among them. Nevertheless, it has been the cynosure this time as it is a matter of pride and prestige chiefly for ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) as well as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Indian National Congress (INC).
In the recently concluded general elections, BJD has won 112 assembly seats (including Bijepur later quit by Naveen Patnaik) out of the total 147 seats in Odisha Assembly, BJP has emerged as the main opposition party this time (23 seats) pushing Congress to the abysmally third position with only 9 MLAs won.
Going by the history of poll results till date, Patkura seat has been a bastion of BJD led by its supremo-cum-Odisha’s five-time Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik since 2000.
While the 2000 assembly poll victor was Trilochan Behera of AITC, BJD’s Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak won it for the first time in 2004. Bed Prakash Agarwalla (BJD) had consecutively won in 2009 and 2014 and had also been the candidate for the 2019 assembly election.
But, Bed Prakash breathed his last before the poll date during this year’s general elections and his wife Sabitri Agarwalla is now in the fray as the BJD candidate.
While BJD candidate Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak won in 2004 bagging 62769 votes, Bed Prakash Agarwalla had been the winner by bagging 71725 and 89853 votes in 2009 and 2014 respectively.
Patkura election assumes more significance because senior political leader Bijoy Mohapatra is the BJP candidate this time too.
Even though he was the winner in his home turf consecutively for three times in the 1985, 1990 and 1995 assembly elections as JNP and JD candidates during late Biju Patnaik’s era, he has been unfortunate to win till date since 2000 under Biju Babu’s son Naveen Patnaik’s era.
In 1985, Bijoy Mohapatra had won the Patkura assembly seat as a JNP candidate by bagging 31544 votes while in 1990, he had won as JD candidate bagging 65085 votes and in 1995 as the same JD candidate by winning 59046.
Notwithstanding that, Bijoy Mohapatra has not been successful in having his entry into the threshold of Odisha Legislative Assembly since 2000. Despite being one of the founders of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), his Patkura ticket had been dramatically cancelled by the party supremo at the eleventh hour during the 2000 assembly polls. He had been replaced by Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak, son of ex-Patkura MLA Raj Kishore Nayak, popular and revered as Patkura Gandhi.
Raj Kishore Nayak had been the winner from the seat as UTC candidate in 1971 and 1974 assembly elections.
Patkura, one of the 147 Assembly seats in Odisha, falls under the politically sensitive Kendrapara Lok Sabha Constituency and also a part of the Kendrapara district.
While Assembly Constituency was created in 1951, the number of electorate is around 2,37,599.
Patkura Assembly Constituency includes Derabish block, Garadapur and 7 Gram Panchayats (Jalapoka, Karilopatna, Aitipur, Jamapada, Mehendinagar, Bachharai and Bandhakata) of Marshaghai block, as per official sources.