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ASKA

The seat associated with Biju Patnaik for decades, Aska is a prestige issue for his son.

india Updated: Apr 04, 2004 15:18 IST

The parliamentary seat associated with legendary "Congress man" Biju Patnaik for decades, Aska Lok Sabha constituency is the prestige issue for his son and present Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his arch rival Ramakrushna Patnaik in this election.

Kumudini Patnaik, the sitting MP of Aska and wife of Ramakrushna, has been expelled from the Biju Janata Dal for anti-party activities. But the couple is determined to put up a fight with possible Congress support. Both Congress and BJP are evenly poised in the seven assembly segments of the constituency.

Kumudini was elected to Lok Sabha from here in 2000 by-poll on a BJD ticket after Naveen Patnaik vacated the seat to represent the Hinjili Assembly segment after becoming the CM.

The constituency comprising the sugarcane belt of coastal Orissa, was won by Naveen by 256736 votes in 1999, defeating Duti Krushna Panda of CPI in a 4-cornered contest. The seat had gone to him in 1998 also when he drubbed Chandra Sekhar Sahoo of Congress by 86211 votes.

Biju Patnaik represented the seat in 1996 when he defeated Ramachandra Rath of Congress by 81094 votes. It was Biju's second constituency in 1996, apart from Cuttack, which too he won, by 80,000 votes.

The first Lok Sabha election from here was won by an Independent, Uma Patnaik, who was re-elected in the next election on the Congress ticket. Barring a couple of hiccups from the CPI and the JD, the Congress has held on to this seat in most elections.

After Biju Patnaik died, his son Naveen won the by-election comfortably on a Janata Dal ticket. He later broke away from Janata Dal to form the Biju Janata Dal and subsequently won the assembly polls with BJP support.