Bhubaneswar, Jan, 7: With the approaching elections, there is a growing discourse about the ruling BJD prioritizing women's leadership. This commitment is evident in the surge of female aspirants within the party.
In the Balasore district's Bhograi constituency, numerous formidable women leaders from the ruling party are vying for the party ticket. Notable among these candidates are Nibedita Mohanty, a former Zilla Parishad member, Manjurani Behera, a former Block chairperson, and Kabita Mohanty, a Zilla Parishad member. Several other aspirants are also actively competing for the BJD ticket.
The decision of the four-time BJD MLA Anant Das not to contest in the upcoming elections due to age has led to an increase in the number of female candidates. Anant Das had been consecutively elected as the Biju Janata Dal nominee since 2004.
Bhograi constituency has a history of women leaders, with two of them representing the seat four times. In the 1985 election, Umarani Patra, a Congress candidate, triumphed over Janata Dal's heavyweight leader Samarendra Kundu by a margin of 2777 votes.
Following this, Dr. Kamala Das, a prominent non-Congress leader, served Bhogarai constituency three times, showcasing her leadership qualities. In 1990, she entered politics as a Janata Dal candidate and defeated Congress nominee Bijay Kumar Pati by 2422 votes. In 1995, she secured victory for the second time, defeating Umarani Patra of Congress by 14,300 votes. Continuing her political journey, Kamala Das contested in 2000 as a BJD candidate and defeated Congress leader Dr. Kartik Keswar Patra by 1055 votes. However, in 2004, she contested as a Congress candidate and lost after being denied a ticket from BJD.
The legacy of women leadership in Bhogarai spans decades, suggesting that political parties, particularly the ruling BJD, may lean towards fielding female candidates to garner women's votes.