With elections to Assembly only three months away, Finance Minister Prasanna Acharya seems to be in search of a safe seat and is likely to shift to Sambalpur.
Though Acharya represents Rairakhol constituency, his frequent visits to the town and interest in its affairs have given rise to speculations in political circles here about the intentions of the senior BJD leader.
As the BJP seems to be keen on putting up a strong fight and the Congress is likely to field MLA Naba Kishore Das’ elder brother and president of Sambalpur District Congress Committee Raj Kishore Das from Rairakhol, sources said Acharya is not keen on contesting from the constituency in 2014.
Acharya made his intentions clear when he spoke about developing Sambalpur into a model town in the State and according Municipal Corporation status to it while speaking during the visit of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to Sambalpur on July 9 last year.
It is widely believed that with his stature as three-time BJD MP from Sambalpur and his proximity with the ranks and file of BJP, Acharya would find it easy contesting from Sambalpur.
But detractors alleged that he had neglected Rairakhol after winning from the seat and also failed to do much for the VSS Medical at Burla or the health services in the district as Health and Family Welfare Minister. Political observers feel that winning from Sambalpur may prove an uphill task for Acharya because of these reasons.
Beginning his career as MLA from Bargarh, he left the Assembly segment to his elder brother Ananda Acharya after he contested Sambalpur Lok Sabha seat.
When he wanted to return to State politics in 2009, Acharya was given BJD ticket from Bhatli constituency. But he contested from Rairakhol.
Contesting from Rairakhol was no easy job as Jharsuguda Congress MLA Naba Kisore Das had been nurturing it for himself.
When Das contested from Jharsuguda, Acharya managed to sail through easily from Rairakhol. However, things have changed a lot since then and so also the equation.