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Elections 2019: A Do-Or-Die Battle For Bijoy Mohapatra

01 April 2019

Baibhav Mishra

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Bhubaneswar: It has been close to two decades since Bijoy Mohapatra, one of Odisha's most seasoned politicians, stepped into the state assembly as a legislator.Dubbed as the super chief minister, Mohapatra once enjoyed extensive clout in the power corridors during the Janata Dal regime in Odisha.

However, destiny had other plans for Mohapatra after 2000. First he was ousted from the newly formed Biju Janata Dal, later his own political venture, the Odisha Gana Parishad virtually collapsed. Hehad then joined the BJP.

During all these years, Mohapatra has experimented with multiple political permutation and combinations, but none could paradrop him into the Odisha Assembly as an MLA.

Having lost three back-to-back elections since 2000, this time it’s a do-or-die situation for the old warhorse. BJP has fielded Mohapatra from Patkura Assembly constituency for 2019 elections. Though Patkura is his home turf, he is going to face stiff competition from the ruling BJD.

BJD's Bed Prakash Agrawalla has won from Patkura in 2014 and 2009 with a huge margin of close to 50 percent votes. In 2004, Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak of BJD won the seat with a vote share of 55.47 percent votes.

Mohapatra appears to have gained traction after bagging the BJP ticket, after his homecoming into the saffron party. Four months back, the senior leader had resigned from the BJP, however, his resignation was placed on hold. Mohapatra’s induction into the saffron party was evidently triggered by the entry of Baijayant Panda and Damodar Rout.

While his return may be a boost for the BJP, the ruling-BJD is geared up to give the saffron party a run for its money in the coastal heartland. An acid test for Mohapatra, Patkura election is going to be one of the most keenly watched contests in Odisha.

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Bijoy Mohapatra, Senior BJP Leader