Bhubaneswar: The opposition Congress has fielded former MLA Ripunath Seth against Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik from Bijepur Assembly constituency in west Odisha’s Bargarh district. The Congress had in its first list announced that Ramakrishna Panda will take on the chief minister from Hinjili in Ganjam district.
Releasing its second list of candidates on late Friday for two Lok Sabha seats and 54 Assembly constituencies in Odisha, the party said that Samarendra Mishra, son of Leader of Opposition in the outgoing Assembly Narasingha Mishra, would contest the polls from Bolangir Lok Sabha seat and Saptagiri Ulka from Koraput (ST) parliamentary constituency. Mishra has been pitted against the sitting BJD MP from Bolangir Kalikiesh Narayan Singhdeo and BJP’s former Lok Sabha member from the seat Sangeeta Singhdeo.
Ulka is set to face Kaushlya Hikaka of BJD, wife of sitting MP Jhina Hikaka, and BJP’s Jayaram Pangi in Koraput parliamentary constituency, reserved for ST.
However, the party is yet to announce its candidate for the Aska Lok Sabha constituency, which will go to polls in the second phase. Both the BJD and the BJP have fielded women candidates from the seat.
The Congress has so far declared names of candidates for eight out of the nine Lok Sabha seats, where elections will be held in the first and second phases of polling on April 11 and 18.
Earlier, the party had announced names of candidates for 10 Lok Sabha constituencies and 99 Assembly seats in Odisha.
In the second list, the party announced that Nabin Nanda, who had recently joined the Congress, will contest from Dhenkanal.
Nanda, a former MLA, had been suspended by the ruling BJD last year. Muktikanta Biswal, who was in the limelight by walking all the way to Delhi to remind Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the promises he had made for upgradation of the Ispat General Hospital and a second bridge over river Brahmani, has been fielded by the Congress to contest from Rourkela.
In the second list, Bismaya Mahapatra, who was nominated from Digapahandi in the first list, has been replaced by Prafulla Panda.
Sitting Congress MLA Prafulla Majhi, who has won thrice from Talsara Assembly constituency (ST) has been retained as the party candidate from the same segment, considered as a traditional Congress bastion.
Similarly, the sitting legislator from Jagatsinghpur Chiranjiv Biswal will contest from the same constituency.
Party MLA from Aul Devendra Sharma, and sitting legislator from Paralakhemundi K Surya Rao, have been retained as Congress candidates from the same constituencies respectively. Former Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Jayadev Jena is the party candidate from Anandapur in Keonjhar district while Biplab Jena will fight on a Congress ticket from Angul.
Former OPCC president Prasad Harichandran will be in the fray from Satyabadi assembly segment, which he held earlier, while Cuttack city unit Congress president Mohhamed Moquim will contest from Barabati-Cuttack.
Kotpad MLA Chandrasekhar Majhi, who had filed his nominations ahead of announcement of his candidature, will be contesting from Kotapad.
There are seven women aspirants among the 54 candidates for the assembly polls.
They include former chief of the women’s wing of the Congress in Odisha Sasmita Behera, who has been fielded from Chhendipada (SC) segment. The party has fielded Manojmanjari Debi of the erstwhile Nilagiri royal family from Nilagari assembly seat.
Amita Biswal, daughter of veteran Congress leader and former chief minister Hemananda Biswal, will contest from Sundargarh assembly segment (ST).
The state, which has 21 Lok Sabha and 147 Assembly seats, is scheduled to go to simultaneous voting in four phases – on April 11, 18, 23 and 29.