Bhanjanagar, Oct 21: Finance Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha is going to face tough fight in Bhanjanagar Assembly constituency this time.
A six-time MLA representing Bhanjanagar since 1995 - the first time on a Janata Dal ticket and the rest five times on the BJD ticket, Arukha has proved the party supremo's faith in him.
Arukha's re-induction in less than a year after he quit the cabinet to become Assembly Speaker seems like a strategic move of the party at strengthening the BJD in Ganjam.
Bhanjanagar Assembly constituency is known as an anti-Congress bastion for the last 33 years. However, BJD’s vote percentage has been in decline. Arukha's winning vote margin has reduced during the last three elections.
He won the seat with highest 90,515 votes in 2009 while Congress candidate got 17,148 votes. The vote margin was 73,367.
Arukha got 82,467 votes in 2014 and Congress candidate Binayak Tripathy secured 50,766 votes. He won at a difference of 31,730 votes.
However, BJP candidate Pradyumna Kumar Nayak got 67,776 votes in 2019 while Arukha got 76,879 votes. The margin was only 9103.
He got 76.50 percent vote in 2009 that reduced to 56.21 percent in 2014 and further to 48.56 percent.
Caste politics plays a crucial role in Bhanjanagar politics as the Kuruma and the Gouda communities are dominant in the constituency. Arukha, who belongs to the Kuruma community, enjoys a good following in his caste.
To counter caste politics, the BJP in 2019 fielded Pradyumna Nayak belonging to the Kuruma community who successfully divided votes and gave a strong fight to Arukha.