NOTA played a special role in Nabarangpur in 2014

With four candidates in the fray, the south Odisha constituency is all set for a close fight

April 04, 2019 01:33 am | Updated 01:33 am IST - BERHAMPUR

The Nabarangpur parliamentary constituency of south Odisha, whose voters had demonstrated the importance of None Of The Above (NOTA) to political parties in 2014, is all set for an interesting fight this time.

In 2014, sitting Congress MP Pradeep Majhi lost to Biju Janata Dal candidate Balabhadra Majhi by a narrow margin of 2,042 votes, while 44,408 votes were cast in favour of NOTA in this constituency reserved for the Scheduled Tribes.

Mr. Pradeep and Mr. Balabhadra are again locking horns in this constituency. But after being denied the BJD ticket, Mr. Balabhadra has switched to the BJP. With an aim to defend its seat, the BJD has fielded State Transport Minister Ramesh Chandra Majhi. Bahujan Samaj Party’s Chandradhwaja Majhi is the fourth candidate in the fray.

10 times winner

History shows that the Congress has a vote base in this constituency. The party had won the Nabarangpur LS seat 10 times in a row from 1962 to 1998, with Khagapati Pradhani winning nine consecutive elections from 1967. Even the nation-wide anti-Congress wave in 1977 could not halt his winning spree.

BJP candidate Parsuram Majhi disrupted the Congress’ winning streak in 1999 and 2004. In both these elections, however, the BJP was in an alliance with the BJD in the State. In 2009, the BJP, after snapping its ties with the BJD, could not retain the seat. In 2009, youth leader of the Congress, Mr. Pradeep won from here, but lost in 2014.

The parliamentary constituency includes Malkangiri, Chitrakonda Assembly segments of the Maoist-infested Malkangiri district, Kotpad Assembly seat of Koraput district, Umerkote, Jharigam, Nabarangpur, Dabugam Assembly segments of Nabarangpur district.

Top Congress and BJP leaders have already addressed voters here. On March 8, a large number of supporters of Mr. Pradeep and the Congress had attended AICC president Rahul Gandhi’s rally in Jeypore in adjoining Koraput Lok Sabha constituency. BJP leaders feel Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Jeypore on March 29 would have an impact on the voters. BJP president Amit Shah had followed it up with a rally in Nabarangpur on Monday.

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