As people in Orissa’s Patkura assembly constituency battle against the searing summer heat, two old war horses -- Bijoy Mohapatra and Bed Prakash Agarwal -- struggle for their survival in state politics.
With Mohapatra, widely regarded as the arch rival of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, in the fray, Patkura has assumed the status of a key assembly seat across the state.
Mohapatra, who was the state president of the NCP, quit in disgust when Sharad Pawar decided to join hands with Naveen after the BJD snapped its alliance with the BJP.
Mohapatra was one of the founders of the BJD but was unceremoniously ousted from the party by Naveen just before the 2000 assembly polls.
Known for his uncompromising nature, Mohapatra shifted to BJP and is pitted against BJD’s Agarwal, another political heavyweight, who deserted the BJP to join BJD.
The river-locked constituency, once the home turf of Mohapatra is now wearing a new look after the delimitation exercise. With some portions merging with newly-created Mahakalpada assembly seat, the Patkura seat comprises 26 gram panchayats (GPs) from Derabisi block, 18 GPs from Garadpur block besides seven GPs from Marshaghai block.