Newly-formed small parties like the Aama Odisha Party, Odisha Jan Morcha, and the Samata Kranti Dal are going to spoil the chances of the major parties. The Aama Odisha Party (AOP) formed by former Congress MP and editor-cum-politician Soumya Ranjan Patnaik is out to erode the already depleting electoral prospects of the Congress.

“We are more into establishing a strong base in the constituencies at grassroots level and getting into the boroughs of all the major political parties, including the Congress,” said AOP chief Patnaik. The party is focussing on coastal districts, particularly the prestigious Cuttack parliamentary constituency.

While clinching an alliance with regional outfit Utkal Bharat (UB) and reaching an electoral understanding with the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in the last minute, Mr. Patnaik convinced UB president and former BJP MP Kharvela Swain to leave his Balasore home turf to the TMC and concentrate on Cuttack.

Besides fielding Mr. Swain for the Cuttack LS seat, the AOP has put up candidates in all the seven Assembly segments under it, including Khandapada.

As a Congress candidate, Mr. Patnaik had lost from here in 2009 to BJD nominee and Khandapada scion Sidhartha Sekhar Singh by a margin of 12,000 votes.

But for Mr. Singh’s dismal performance in the last term, the BJD has fielded a newcomer Anubhav Patnaik, who is finding it difficult to keep the rebellious BJD factions together.

This has made Mr. Patnaik a clear favourite among Khandapada voters.

People here are willing to rally behind the editor-turned-politician hoping that the highly neglected constituency would be properly represented in the Assembly.