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Paradip: Where contestants' wives are the star campaigners

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Press Trust of India Paradip (Odisha)
The Paradip assembly seat, which goes to polls on April 29, witnessed an interesting election campaign as the wives of three prominent candidates campaigned extensively to garner support for them.
The Paradip assembly segment was carved out in 2009 and is currently held by Damodar Rout, who recently joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after being ousted from the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD).
The seat will witness a three-cornered contest between BJD's Sambit Routray, also Rout's son, Congress's Arindam Sarkhel and BJP's Sampad Chandra Swain.
Routray's father is the BJP's Odisha campaign committee chief and stayed away from the debutant's campaign. However, the BJD candidate's wife, Gitanjali, was always by his side.
"I am from a political family. My father-in-law is in politics for 45 years. Therefore, it was not difficult for me to campaign," said the housewife.
"People know about Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his welfare schemes. Therefore, campaigning was very smooth for me here," she added.
Similarly, Congress candidate Arindam Sarkhel alias Bapi's wife Monideepa also campaigned for him.
For Bapi, who is running from Paradip for a second time, it is a prestige battle of sorts. He lost to Rout in the 2014 assembly elections and is pitted against his son this time.
Monideepa, who also campaigned for Bapi in 2014, is upbeat about her husband's chances this time.
"We got a good response from people. People in Paradip believe that Bapi Sarkhel means development," she said.
With the wives of the BJD and Congress candidates going all out to support their husbands, Swain's spouse, Sushreeta, also joined the campaign trail.
Sushreeta said she undertook a door-to-door campaign and reached out to women voters appealing to them to vote for her husband.
"This was the first time I campaigned in an election. I mostly met women during the campaign. Being a woman, I had the advantage of going to everyone's house as part of a door-to-door campaign," she said.
Paradip, which goes to polls with 41 other assembly constituencies and six Lok Sabha seats in Odisha, wasn't the only seat where wives campaigned for their husbands.
Spouses of BJP candidate for Sambalpur Lok Sabha seat Nitesh Gangdev and party's Bolangir assembly segment nominee Ananta Kumar Dash, which went to polls in third and second phase respectively, had also joined the campaign trail.
However, it wasn't just the wives, the husbands too sweated it out seeing votes for their candidate-wives.
Senior BJP leader and sitting MLA K V Singhdeo campaigned extensively for his wife Sangeeta the saffron party's candidate from the Bolangir Lok Sabha seat, which went to polls on April 18.
BJD MLA Muktikant Mandal campaigned for his wife Manjulata, who has been fielded from the Bhadrak Lok Sabha seat by the ruling party. Polling will be held in Bhadrak on April 29.

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First Published: Apr 28 2019 | 5:25 PM IST

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