ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Selling Structural Adjustment-Andhra Experience

Tiria has been renominated but in Sundargarh sitting MP Freda Topno has been replaced by Sunil Singh Deo. But it may be upset by the BJD-BJP alliance. Similarly, the Rashtriya Janata Dal of Laloo Prasad has launched its unit under the leadership of Bhagabat Behera, four-time MLA from Nayagarh and former JD minister, Fighting on a backward class platform, his candidature from Bhubaneshwar will lead to a four- cornered contest. This is where the United Front has put up a CPI(M) candidate, Shivaji Patnaik, who had won the seat in 1989 and 1991, but lost to Congress's Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, J B Patnaik's son-in-law and editor of an Oriya daily who left BJP to join the Congress on the eve of the 1996 elections. While on the subject of sons in politics - the sitting Congress MP from Jagatsinghpur, cricket player Ranjiv Biswal, son of deputy chief minister B K Biswal, might stage a comeback even though he faces BJD's Trilochan Kanungo, the formidable former mayor of Cuttack also known as Orissa's 'Mr Clean'. This constituency was held by CPFs Loknath Chaudhary as a part of the JD-Left electoral understanding earlier. Ranjiv's father, the resourceful leader from the same area, has looked after the region systematically. Youth clubs in every panchayat have been kept happy, ready to mobilise voters and guard booths and ensure Ranjiv's victory. Pinaki Mishra, Congress MP from Puri, son of former Assam governor, Loknath Mishra, said to be a part of the core- group surrounding Chandraswami also follows the agency method of managing constituency, Thus, on the whole, the Congress which had secured 17 seats in the last Lok Sabha may still win a majority of the Lok Sabha seats in Orissa and may even go further, George Fernandes' Samata Party has a former JD MP from Sambalpur, Bhabani Shankar Hota, who is contesting there and that will also divide the anti-Congress votes. Sonia Gandhi's election campaign has actually increased the Congress appeal in Orissa which was visited by Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi frequently and by Rajiv Gandhi just before his assassination. Sonia' s rally in Bhubaneshwar on January 20 surpassed the strength of the earlier rallies and expectedly it did try to touch the emotional chord. Thus BJD's justification for forming a separate party to curb the Congress challenge is not likely to be borne out. On the contrary it will help the BJP to consolidate its growth in Orissa and add to its numbers in Lok Sabha.

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