Poll Fever Infects Patkura

Bhubaneswar : While people across the State are back to the rigours of daily struggle for livelihood after the twin polls couple of months back, poll fever has returned to infect the voters in the politically-sensitive Patkura assembly seat in Kendrapara district.

The poll fever is back in Patkura with the Election Commission today issuing notification and announing that polling for the Patkura assembly constituency which was scheduled for May 19 but was countermanded following the death of BJD candidate and former finance minister Bed Prakash Agarwal, would now be held on July 20.

The EC had earlier adjourned the election the provisions of sub-section (2) of Section 52 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 following Agarwal’s death on April 20.

The counting of the electronic voting machines for the bye-election will be held on July 24. With the announcement of date for the bye-election, model code of conduct was enforced across Kendrapara district from today.

Polling in Patkura Assembly seat was initially scheduled on April 29, but it could not be held because of the death of BJD candidate Bed Prakash Agarwal on April 20. Then, the ECI had fixed May 19 as the new date for the polls in Patkura. However later it was further postponed following cyclone Fani barreling through coastal districts.

BJP leader and former minister Bijoy Mohapatra is making a last bid to return to assembly after a long gap of 19 years. The ruling BJD has fielded Agarwal’s wife Sabitri as its candidate, Congress has named Jayant Mohanty as its candidate.

Mohapatra was one of the founders of the BJD but was unceremoniously ousted from the party by Naveen just before the 2000 assembly polls. Since then, he has not been able to make it to the State assembly.

The poll atmosphere is still intact. We exercised our franchise for the Lok Sabha polls. On July 20, we will exercise our voting rights again. We are excited as there will be huge political focus on Patkura. It will witness high-voltage campaign led by parties’ star campaigners, said a voter from Garadpur village.

As people in Patkura assembly constituency battle against monsoon downpour, the old war horse-Bijoy Mohapatra- is perhaps fighting the all-important poll battle of his four-decade-long topsy-turvy political career.

The Patkura seat comprises 26 gram panchayats (GPs) from Derabish block, 18 GPs from Garadpur block besides seven GPs from Marshaghai block.

Mohapatra was one of the founders of the BJD but was unceremoniously ousted from the party by Naveen just before the 2000 assembly polls. Since then, he has not been able to make it to the State assembly.

In the 2000 elections, he failed to contest as the BJD supremo withdrew his ticket at the eleventh hour replacing him with Atanu Sabyasachi. But Mahapatra backed an Independent and ensured his victory.

Mohapatra on the erstwhile Janata Dal ticket had emerged victorious from this seat in 1980, 1985, 1990 and 1995 assembly polls.