Will Cuttack see a high profile battle between BJD’s Santrupt and BJP’s Bhartruhari ?


Bhubaneswar: After Sambalpur and Bhubaneswar, people may witness another high profile poll battle in Cuttack. While the BJD has fielded Santrupt Misra, the BJP may field political stalwart and former MP Bhartruhari Mahatab in the parliamentary constituency.

On Wednesday, the BJD announced the nomination of the former HR head of Aditya Birla Group, replacing Bhartruhari, who resigned from the party last week. Misra, who joined the BJD last month and swiftly became the party’s national spokesperson, had long been the subject of speculation regarding his potential entry into the Naveen Patnaik-led party since he opted for voluntary retirement from his corporate position in December. This marks his debut in electoral politics.

Bhartruhari, the steady face of BJD from Cuttack since 1998, joined the BJP on 28th March at the party headquarters in NewDelhi. Last week, he had resigned from BJD on March 22, claiming that ‘Asura Shakti’ has taken firm grip over the party and government, his alleged saffron leaning had already put a cloud over his candidature from the seat this time. He quit the regional party moments after BJP state president Manmohan Samal announced that the saffron party will fight all 21 Lok Sabha and 147 Vidhan Sabha seats alone.

Last week, BJP had announced candidates for 18 out of 21 Lok Sabha seats of Odisha. The saffron party is yet to announce candidates for Cuttack, Jajpur and Kandhamal Lok Sabha seats.

Bhartruhari shares a good relationship with the BJP central leadership. His meeting with Amit Shah in New Delhi in January had also fuelled speculation about the Cuttack MP joining the BJP ahead of the upcoming elections. Union Education Minister and senior BJP leader Dharmendra Pradhan in March 2023 also hailed him as Bhishma Pitamah of Odisha politics.

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