Congress set to give a tough fightApr 1st, 2009 | By Elections2009 | Category: Orissa
CUTTACK: Bereft of development, poor law and order situation and lack of basic amenities in the historic Cuttack city are the dominating election issues ever since the first Assembly elections in 1951-52. After the delimitation, the city Assembly constituency has been renamed as Cuttack-Barabati, comprising some 26 wards of Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC), having just a little over two lakh voters.
Civic amenities, encroached roads and drains, clean drinking water and, above all, water logging during monsoon and law and order have been perennial problems of this millennium city and no government in the State ever took any concrete step to mitigate the problems.
When Samir Dey of the BJP was elected from the Cuttack city Assembly constituency for the third time in a row, people of the thousand-year-old city had hoped that the roads and drains of the old city, along with drinking water and sanitation issues, would be his top priority. But, instead of any solution, the city’s woes multiplied which was why the people rejected the BJP in the recently concluded civic polls.
Similarly, the law and order situation reached its nadir during the past more than one decade. Broad daylight shootouts, robberies, bombing of business establishments and syndicate crime being controlled over mobile phones from nearby Choudwar jail will also dominate the polls.
The city has a tendency to look for alternatives ever since Biren Mitra was defeated in the 1971 Assembly polls. Mitra of the Congress won from this segment all the Assembly polls from till 1967. But his controversial stint as Chief Minister from October 1963 to February 1965 and subsequent allegations of corruption against him saw him losing the seat to Bhairab Chandra Mohanty of Utkal Congress by nearly 4000 votes. Even the cabinet sub-committee giving a clean chit to him did not help him win the 1971 polls. After that the voters of the city have been constantly looking for alternatives with none of the legislators winning for a second term until Sayed Mustafiz Ahmed of the Janata Dal winning in 1985 and 1990 polls. But as he went on to become a minister in the Biju Patnaik cabinet, he failed to retain the seat in the 1995 polls. In that year, he lost to Samir Dey by a narrow margin of less than 1000 votes with Congress candidate Asirbad Behera finishing a close third.
Dey also defeated Ahmed in 2000 polls when the Muslim leader had changed his party and contested on a Congress ticket. Dey had polled 63,819 votes to Ahmed’s 30,014 votes in an eight-corner contest. The BJP leader also retained his seat in 2004 defeating Suresh Mohapatra of the Congress.
The Congress is all set to give a tough fight to both the BJD and the BJP, who broke their 11-year alliance last month.