The announcement by the Election Commission of India for the election in the Patkura assembly seat is bound to recharge the political climate in Odisha after a good gap.
What adds to the momentum is the fight between the BJP candidate Bijoy Mohapatra, viewed as an arch political rival of chief minister Naveen Patnaik and Biju Janata Dal candidate, Sabitri Agarwal.
It is an election that is going to decide the political fate of Mohapatra, who has failed to make it to the assembly since 2000. To his misfortune the polling in Patkura was postponed at the eleventh hour following the sudden demise of the then BJD candidate, Bed Prakash Agarwal, on April 20 and subsequently, the next date for the poll was to be postponed again, due to impact of Cyclone Fani.
Why the election has assumed a tone of finality for Mohapatra is because it is going to be a do or die battle for him. If he loses the election, Mohapatra may have a tryst with a political wilderness as long as Naveen Patnaik is in the seat of power in the state.
For Patnaik, the poll adds a touch of urgency because BJD candidate Sabitri Agarwal, the widow of Bed Prakash Agarwal, has nothing to hold on to politically other than his charisma. That makes the battle to be a virtual fight between the BJD supremo and Mohapatra, who runs a big risk if the top leadership of the BJP fails to come to his aid, which seems unlikely so far.
If that does not happen, then the chances of Mohapatra getting again hamstrung by a Naveen wave are very likely. It might impair his political worthiness decisively. Sources confide that the BJD bandwagon has already pitched its tents there since one month and Patnaik keeps a close watch to ensure Mohapatra’s fifth consecutive defeat.
If the electorate of Patkura do not spring a surprise, then the outcome is a foregone conclusion.