The by-election for the Umerkote Assembly seat in Nabarangpur district which is scheduled to be held on November 30 will be a major battle for ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and opposition parties before the coming panchayat polls in the State.
This seat became vacant following murder of BJD MLA of Umerkote Jagabandhu Majhi along with his personal security officer (PSO) Prashant Kumar Patra at Gona village under Raighar police station limits on September 24. Major opposition parties in the State the Congress and the BJP are also eyeing this by-election to reclaim their clout before the panchayat polls.
This by-election is being termed as a test for newly installed State Congress Committee president Niranjan Patnaik and AICC general secretary incharge of Odisha Jagdish Tytler, who has become famous for his series of attacks on the ruling BJD and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
Extra seriousness of the party towards this by-election can be assessed from the fact that on October 31 both Tytler and Mr Patnaik visited this constituency to observe martyrdom day of Indira Gandhi at remote Raighar.
Orissa Pradesh Congress Committee has formed a committee headed by senior leader and MLA Dambarudhar Ulaka to recommend a suitable candidate for the by-election.
Four-time MLA from the area Parama Pujari, who was in third position during last Assembly polls is also an aspirant of party ticket. But a major section of the party is thinking of fielding a person from Gond tribal community.
The BJD is also serious about the by-election.
A seven-member committee led by senior vice-president and Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Surjya Naranayn Patro and State Law Minister Bikram Keshari Arukh as member has been formed to decide the candidate and plan up the campaign.
This committee also visited Nabarangpur district to take stock of situation.
The BJD has to decide how to encash sympathy factor in favour of the slain MLA as well as other political factors through a chosen candidate. Name of a close associate of Jagabandhu is being considered. But he was bachelor with no political heir. There was a section in the BJD that was opposed to the killed MLA.
To benefit from delay in choice of candidates by the BJD and the Congress,
The BJP has announced that Dharmu Gond would be the candidate for the BJP.