Can the Biju Janata Dal’s fortress be breached by the Bharatiya Janata Party in Kendrapada? This remains to be the key puzzle among the poll watchers. But it has started as voters have entered the booths of Kendrapada, known to be as the most impregnable fortress of the BJD from the time of Janata Dal under Biju Patnaik. Whether the BJD will defend it this time is a question that agitates both the BJD and the BJD.
Now, in the present situation, Kendrapada suddenly pitchforked itself to be the most discussed parliamentary constituency in the state. It is an election or a kind of referendum is what has been made out of the tempestuous media blaze.
It is a kind of war between Naveen Patnaik and his arch political rival of the day, Baijayant Panda, the BJP candidate who had won in the constituency as BJD candidate in 2014.
Panda is mainly challenged, conceptually, by the BJD candidate Anubhav Mohanty , the popular cine celebrity and now a sitting Rajya Sabha MP. Also not to be written off is the Congress candidate Dharanidhar Nayak, an eminent lawyer, who in 2014 remained the first runner up drawing over 3.90 lakh votes, a feat that can’t be ignored because of his party’s traditional vote bank of 25 per cent or more in Odisha.
If Nayak this time goes even near to his 2014 score, that may heavily impact on the prospects of the BJP more than that of the BJD.
What plays itself up in Kendrapada this time is that Patnaik may afford to lose a seat or two elsewhere but not in Kendrapada. The chronology of his campaign in Kendrapada, staying overnight also, may be summed up as a defensive guard yet Patnaik had taken extra pain to ensure that whether it is Modi wave or Balakot strike, those does not play out in the soil of Kendrapada.
For Panda, what does not appear to be a selling point is his grouse against Patnaik such as deprived of ‘common sense’ and Patnaik’s parasytic dependence on a bureaucrat. Even personal take downs like late Biju Patnaik’s ‘helplessness’ and ‘penury’ when Panda’s family played the Santa to rescue him from a debt trap may not augur well for him.
There were of course some counters from Patnaik when he had alluded at Panda’s hidden agenda eyeing on his chair or aspiring for top position at the central level. In fact, there were issues lacing the air were less political than personal.
For politically very conscious people of Kendrapada, such negative planks may not be the barometer for how people would react.