Kendrapada- home ground to the battle between BJP's National Vice President and ex-BJD leader Baijayant Panda and BJD's Rajya Sabha MP and Odia actor-turned-politician Anubhav Mohanty saw a massive victory in favour of Anubhav Mohanty by garnering 4,70,553 votes. Congress' Dharanidhar Nayak too contested but failed to make a dent in this major BJD vs BJD prestige battle, as of 9:50 PM
Panda - a friend-turned-foe to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik grabbed the nation's attention when he abandoned the BJD in favour of the saffron party and was immediately given the top post of Vice President thus solidifying his national clout and increasing his chances in the Lok Sabha as well as Assembly polls which were concurrently held in Odisha.
After joining BJP, Panda had also pulled several senior BJD leaders namely Bijoy Mohapatra along with him in a view to making inroads into the 19-year regime of Patnaik. While lack of connectivity between the river-locked villages in the constituency has been a major issue, the work is done by sitting MP Panda had swung the vote in his favour.
Both BJD and BJP had heavily campaigned for their respective candidate making development-centred poll promises. While the Chief Minister himself had has extensively campaigned and held road shows in Kendrapara along with senior BJD leaders, BJP has fielded the face of their campaign - PM Narendra Modi to hold a rally in Kendrapada.
Panda, who himself holds major sway in Kendrapada along with his clean image has attracted BJP Chief Amit Shah, BJP Spokesperson Sambit Patra who is himself contesting from Puri constituency in the state which had worked in his favour giving the picture of the state's say at the national level.
Since 1957, Kendrapada has never favoured the Congress and is a BJD bastion which has won the seat since 1998. Naveen Patnaik’s father Biju Patnaik has been elected thrice to Parliament in 1977, 1980 and 1984.
While BJD rebels have not succeeded in making inroads in the state and as no candidate opposing the Patnaik family has won the seat for almost the last fifty years, the battle in this Lok Sabha was of strategic importance for the saffron party.
Kendrapada polled in the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha elections on April 29.
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