Dharmagarh: With just a few days left for the elections, the candidates of the three major parties have intensified their campaigns in the Dharmagarh Assembly constituency in Kalahandi district.
Dharmagarh is a politically sensitive seat. Reactions from the people in various parts of this constituency indicate that voters are giving importance to the personality and acceptability of the candidates, rather than their parties.
The candidates of national parties like the Congress and the BJP are banking on their party image.
The BJD delayed announcing its nominee here leaving party cadres in confusion. Some BJD workers expressed reservations about their candidate as the party is believed to have played the OBC card here.
All the three parties have fielded new faces. The BJD nominee is Mousud Bag who retired from a school in Koksara block.
The BJP has fielded a scion of the Kalahandi royal family, Anant Pratap Deo, while the Congress has played the Dalit card by fielding Digamabar Duria.
Another contestant is Independent Rabindra Pattajoshi. He was hoping for a BJP ticket but filed nomination as an Independent when he was denied a party ticket. The seat is thus headed for a four-cornered contest.
The BJP nominee is pinning hopes on the ‘Modi magic’. With the traditional royal charm, which once brought in votes, now missing, how much the BJP nominee will gain from his royal aura remains to be seen.
The Congress has set its sight on its traditional vote bank and has fielded a Dalit leader who is also a lawyer.
After the Congress came to power in neighbouring Chhattisgarh promising loan waiver and a hike in paddy MSP, the Congress nominee has made these the main issues here hoping to reap electoral dividends.
Dharmagarh has been a BJD bastion for 20 years. Puspendra Singh Deo was elected from this seat four times in a row. But the ruling party fielded him for the Kalahandi Lok Sabha seat this time.
Dharmagarh has a major Yadav vote bank. Keeping this in mind the BJD has fielded Mousud Bag, a retired teacher from Koskara block.
The BJD nominee has been campaigning here banking on the popularity of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his government’s development agenda.
Former block chairman and dissident BJP leader Rabindra Pattajoshi is posing a serious problem for all the three candidates here.
Pattajosi has supporters in the BJP, the BJD and the Congress. The three contestants will have to face a tough fight due to this.
A section of BJP workers opposed to Anant Pratap Deo is openly supporting Rabindra Pattajoshi. Reports from some areas say that people belonging to the general category are more likely to support Pattajoshi.