Assembly bypolls 2019: BJD candidate ahead in Odisha’s Bijepur, seat Naveen Patnaik vacated
This is also the first time the BJD and the BJP have locked horns after the April-May 2019 assembly and Lok Sabha polls in OdishaUpdated: Oct 24, 2019 11:09 IST
Rita Sahu of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is leading by 42,148 votes over her nearest rival Sanat Gadtia of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after the eighth round of counting in Odisha’s Bijepur assembly bypoll. The seat was vacated by chief minister Naveen Patnaik, who retained Hinjli the other seat he had won in May 2019 assembly elections.
At the end of eighth round, Sahu had bagged 58,277 votes, BJP’s Gadtia 16,129 votes and Congress’s Dilip Panda 2,209 votes.
This is also the first time the BJD and the BJP have locked horns after the April-May 2019 assembly and Lok Sabha polls. The BJD has been hopeful of retaining Bijepur, considering chief minister Patnaik had won it with a comprehensive margin of 57,000 votes. The BJP also pulled all stops to try and wrest the seat lining up central leaders to campaign in the constituency. Their campaign was centred around what they called the chief minister’s ‘betrayal of Bijepur electorate’.
While Naveen Patnaik picked former MLA Rita Sahu as his party’s candidate the BJP nominated Sanat Gartia, who had lost to chief minister Naveen Patnaik in the 2019 assembly polls. The Congress, which ended up with its lowest-ever tally and lowest ever vote percentage in 2019 assembly polls, has fielded Dilip Panda.
This by-poll is the third election for for Bijepur constituency in 20 months. The segment witnessed a by-poll in February 2018 necessitated by the sitting MLA Subal Sahu in August 2017. This was followed by the Assembly election, which Naveen Patnaik won.
The October 21 by-poll witnessed 78.96 per cent turnout with 2.3 lakh eligible voters casting their vote.