Other States

A fight among Kondh leaders in Koraput

It will be a triangular contest in this parliamentary seat reserved for STs

It will be a triangular contest among Kondh tribal leaders in Odisha’s Koraput Lok Sabha seat, which is reserved for Scheduled Tribes (ST).

Kaushalya Hikaka, wife of sitting MP Jhina Hikaka, is the BJD candidate, while the Congress has fielded Saptagiri Sankar Ulaka, son of former State Minister Ramchandra Ulaka. Former BJD Koraput MP Jayaram Pangi is the BJP candidate. All of them are from the Kondh community. According to an estimate, the constituency has around 47% Kondh tribals.

Apart from these three, Bhaskar Mutuka of the BSP, Samodar Sabar of the CPI-ML (Liberation), Banamali Majhi of the Ambedkarite Party of India and Rajendra Kendruka of the CPI-ML (Red Star) are also in the fray.

In 2014, Mr. Hikaka had defeated Congress candidate Giridhar Gamang, former Odisha Chief Minister and nine-time MP from Koraput. His wife Hema Gamang, as Congress candidate, had won the 1999 by-election when Mr. Gamang vacated the seat to become the Chief Minister.

Mr. Gamang, a Saura tribal, the second largest tribal populace in this constituency, is now in the BJP and is expected to add to the tribal support for Mr. Pangi. Interestingly, in the 2009 Lok Sabha poll, Mr. Pangi as a BJD candidate had defeated Mr. Gamang, then in the Congress.

Since its inception in 1957, Koraput remained a Congress bastion till 2004. In 2014, the seat was bagged by the BJD, yet three of its Assembly seats in Koraput district — Jeypore, Laxmipur and Koraput — went to the Congress. The Congress is trying hard to regain its old bastion.

The other four Assembly seats in this constituency — Pottangi in Koraput district and Gunupur, Bisamkatak, Rayagada in Rayagada district — went to the BJD. The BJP is also eyeing this parliamentary seat, hoping to gain from the loss of support base of the Congress.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 10:18:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/a-fight-among-kondh-leaders-in-koraput/article26751480.ece

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