Home Daily News Sundargarh Lok Sabha Battle: Oram vs. Tirkey, BJD’s Quest for Victory

Sundargarh Lok Sabha Battle: Oram vs. Tirkey, BJD’s Quest for Victory

by Nita Mishra

Sundargarh Lok Sabha

Sundargarh stands as the sole Lok Sabha constituency in Odisha where the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has yet to taste victory. Historically, this seat has been firmly held by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), notably represented by Jual Oram. Even after the alliance between BJD and BJP dissolved, the seat saw a change only once in 2009 when former Chief Minister and Congress stalwart Hemananda Biswal secured a win. However, Oram made a triumphant return in 2014 and has since held the seat, becoming a seasoned five-time winner since 1998.

The Battle of Titans: Jual Oram vs. Dilip Tirkey

This year, all eyes are on Sundargarh as Jual Oram, the BJP veteran, faces off against the illustrious Hockey India President and former Indian hockey team captain, Dilip Tirkey. A revered figure in the region, this marks Tirkey’s second challenge to unseat the experienced Oram.

Oram’s Stronghold and Tirkey’s Uphill Battle

Despite Tirkey’s popularity, Oram’s support base has steadily grown over the years. Even in his defeat to Hemananda Biswal in 2009, the margin was narrow, with just over a one per cent difference in votes (11,624). The 2009 election saw a complex contest involving BJP, Congress, JMM, and CPM, where Congress benefited from the vote division.

Shifting Political Tides: BJP’s Surge and BJD’s Optimism

The political landscape has shifted significantly since then. With the BJP experiencing a nationwide surge in popularity due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, many believe this tribal-dominated constituency will remain in the saffron party’s hands. However, BJD sources are optimistic, adamant that they will reclaim the seat this time around.

The Road Ahead: Challenges and Prospects

In 2014, Tirkey trailed Oram by approximately 18,000 votes. With the ruling BJD gearing up for the elections nearly a year in advance, they are confident of bridging this gap. Moreover, Tirkey’s local popularity and the establishment of a world-class hockey stadium in the district, considered the cradle of the sport in the country, are seen as advantageous for the ruling party.

Past Defeats and New Hopes

In the 2019 election, BJD had fielded Hemananda’s daughter, Sunita Biswal, from the seat. However, she faced a substantial defeat at the hands of Oram, losing by a record margin of 2.23 lakh votes. For the Congress, they have now put forth Janardan Dehury, a former MLA of Bonai and president of the Sundargarh district Congress committee. Yet, the party’s organizational challenges have deepened to the point where making a significant impact seems daunting, as noted by political observers.

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