Is Rita Sahu BJD's Nominee For Bijepur Bye Polls?

19 September 2019

Debashish Maharana

Bhubaneswar: Rita Sahu is most likely to be nominated as Biju Janata Dal's (BJD) candidate for the Bijepur bye election, date of which is yet to be announced by the Election Commission of India (ECI).

"Since she (Rita Sahu) had been elected once, she is certainly in the race," hinted Susanta Singh, a member of BJD's Election Coordination Committee for Bijepur Assembly contituency and Minister Rural Development here on Thursday while responding to media queries on preparations of the ruling BJD for the Bijepur bye election.

"We have been all through telling that the BJD is always in combat preparedness for fighting elections, be it Bijepur or elsewhere.Selection of the candidate is done after election date is announced.Naveen Patnaik will certainly announce the candidate whose chances of winning is more.The BJD has won the seat in the last two elections by getting over one lakh votes.This time too we will get over a lakh votes," Singh pointed out.

He added that the BJD always fights the elections with one agenda and that is development and this time too in Bijepur the agenda will be the same. 

It may be mentioned here that BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had announced formation of an Election Coordination Committee for Bijepur Assembly Constituency on Wednesday with four senior BJD leaders Niranjan Pujari, Susanta Singh, Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo and Sanjay Das Burma as its members.

Patnaik's Wednesday's announcement has spurred speculations within the BJD as to who is going to be nominated as the party's candidate for Bijepur bye poll.

Opposition parties both BJP and Congress have also claimed that their parties are fully prepared for the Bijepur bye elections.

"The Bharatiya Janata Party has begun its preparations for Bijepur much earlier. Only formal announcement of the name of the party's candidate remains to be done. Very soon we will be doing that," informed BJP spokesperson Prithviraj Harichandan.

"About a month and a half back we too under the leadership of our CLP leader constituted a high-level committee and have started working on it.Action will be taken on the basis of the committee's report. Congress will certainly fight elections from Bijepur," stated Pradesh Congress Committee president Niranjan Patnaik.

A third electoral battle in less than two years since 2018 is in the offing for the Bijepur Assembly contituency.

After the demise of former Congress MLA Subal Sahu, the ruling BJD by fielding his widow Rita Sahu won the Bijepur bypoll with a respectable number of votes.

Rita garnered 1, 02,871 votes in 2018 and had defeated her nearest rival Ashok Panigrahi of BJP by 41,933 votes.

In the last elections BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik had contested from two seats Bijepur and Hinjili and had won both with record number of votes. The seat fell vacant after Patnaik resigned the seat in June last while retaining the Hinjili seat in Ganjam district that made the bypoll for Bijepur seat inevitable. Since three months have already passed after Naveen resigned from the seat, the ECI may announce the dates for holding bye poll any moment.

Susanta Singh, member, BJD's Election Coordination Committee for Bijepur Assembly constituency

Prithviraj Harichandan, Spokesperson, BJP, Odisha

Niranjan Patnaik, President, PCC, Odisha