Nabarangpur in Odisha, bordering Chhattisgarh is set for a battle amongst the Majhis. Sitting BJD MP from Nabarangpur, Balabhadra Majhi has switched to BJP and is a candidate in this election. BJD has fielded Ramesh Maji, minister in the Patnaik government as their candidate. On the other hand, Congress has fielded former MP Pradeep Majhi who contested unsuccessfuly last time.
Interestingly, all three parties are harping on the development plank to win. While the BJP is saying many central schemes were hampered due to BJD and need of the hour is ‘double engine’, the ruling state government is hoping that KALIA scheme wins over people. Congress on the other hand, is hoping their farm loan waiver in neighbouring Chhattisgarh catches people’s imagination.
Throughout the decades, Nabarangpur has always been a Congress bastion. Khagpati Pradhani of Congress has won the seat nine times in a row. With the turn of the century, BJP and BJD started to gain currency. With the inclusion of Balabhadra Majhi amidst its rank, the BJP is prepared to give other two a run for their money.
Kalahandi election is on 11th April. The assembly segments under it are Umerkote,Jharigam,Nabarangpur,Dabugam,Kotpad,Malkangiri,Chitrakonda. In the past, Congress has won the seat at a stretch from 1962 to 1998. It has also won in 2009, when Pradeep Majhi was contesting. In 2014, BJD broke the jinx winning the seat for the first time. Interestingly, there was a very significant amount of NOTA voters in the last election. With Nabarangpur likely to be a cliff-hanger, it remains to be seen whether NOTA becomes a factor or not.