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Odisha: Conch blowers in high demand as election approaches

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NewsDrum Desk
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Berhampur (Odisha), Apr 2 (PTI) The services of conch blowers are generally required during the auspicious occasions of Hindu marriages, thread ceremonies and other events.

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But with the elections to the 147-member Odisha Assembly and 21 Lok Sabha seats in the state approaching they are in high demand as "sankha' (conch) is the symbol of the ruling Biju Janata Dal and the regional party candidates start their campaign by blowing conch across the state.

The conch blowers are hired by BJD candidates during the elections to familiarise the voters with the party symbol 'conch' during their campaigning. The BJD candidates in all the 168 constituencies (21 Lok Sabha and 147 assembly segments) require conch blowers during the campaign.

There are around 25,000 conch blowers in Odisha's Ganjam district and most of them are engaged in the election campaign for BJD candidates in different constituencies.

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"As of now, some candidates have already approached us for their campaign for the state assembly and Lok Sabha elections in the state. Their demands will increase after filing up of the nominations," said Rajendra Prasad Patra, a conch blower in Narendrapur village of Odisha's Ganjam district.

Pabitra Kumar Mohapatra, another conch blower said they would chalk out the plan for campaigning in different constituencies. As the elections will be held in four phases in the state, they will not face any problem campaigning for different candidates in various segments.

Last time, after campaigning for the candidates in the first phase elections in Ganjam and Rayagada, they moved to Chandabali, Dharamsala, Bhanjangar and some other segments, said Mohapatra.

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Attired like the tribal folk dancers wearing yellow or green clothes and turbans, the team members, each adept at blowing twin conches, lead the way of the candidate on the dusty road.

Poll managers of different candidates want 'jodi sankha' (twin conch blowers), said Tutu Roul of the Roulapalli, near Kabisurya Nagar.

But talking about politics, they did not disclose the inclination of any political party. "We are only rendering our services to anyone who needs our services", said a conch blower.

"We have also rendered our service for a few BJP candidates in the last last election, but not blowing conches, We only beat drums attired in saffron colour dresses," said Mohapatra.

The conch blowers are generally engaged to blow conch during the marriage and thread ceremonies, as an important part of rituals. PTI COR AAM AAM RG

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