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Odisha: Political Parties Warm-Up For Bijepur Battle


24 September 2019

Debashish Maharana


Bhubaneswar: The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is all set to launch a massive campaign for the bye-election to the prestigious Bijepur assembly seat.

The seat holds great importance for the BJD since its party supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had vacated it after winning by a huge margin in 2019 general elections.

Naveen who had contested from two seats Hinjili and Bijepur in the 2019 general elections had vacated Bijepur while retaining Hinjili, his traditional seat.

Ever since the fielding of deceased Congress MLA Subal Sahu's widow-Rita Sahu as the BJD candidate for the Bijepur bye-elections in 2018, Naveen has been taking personal interest in Bijepur's development.

The party had successfully fielded Naveen for the seat in 2019 general elections as a strategy to thwart the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) juggernaught and Modi wave that was sweeping the country and could make significant inroads into western Odisha.

Keeping the above in mind, the BJD president has constituted an Election Coordination Committee for Bijepur Assembly Constituency comprising of senior party leaders Niranjan Pujari, Susanta Singh, Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo and Sanjay Das Burma as members.

So far as the candidate-selection is concerned, BJD leaders said, the final call will be taken by the party chief. Exuding confidence over his party’s prospects in the upcoming by-elections, former BJD MP from Bargarh, Prabhas Singh said, “BJD will be winning the seat convincingly.”

“Our party is governed by set principles and the candidate for Bijepur will be selected by our party president. However, if given a chance I will serve the people of Bijepur with all conviction,” Singh said.

The Congress committee for Bijepur bye-election headed by Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Narasingha Mishra met here on Tuesday to finalize on its candidate. This was the second meeting of the committee.

Senior Congress leader and MLA from Kantabanji Santosh Singh Saluja said that there are 15 aspirants out of which five have applied in writing.

“Deliberations are underway and we hope that we will declare our candidate very soon,” Saluja informed.

The BJP which has always been claiming that it’s in combat preparedness to face any election at any point of time today however, maintained that it was yet to finalize its candidate for the Bijepur bye-election.

“Ours is a cadre based party and candidates are finalized by the party’s parliamentary board at Delhi following consultations between our national president and State president,”said Bishnu Sethi, Deputy Leader of the BJP Legislative party.

Sethi added that his party was yet to finalize the candidate for the Bijepur bye-elections.

Prabhas Singh, former BJD MP, Bargarh

Santosh Singh Saluja, Congress MLA

Bishnu Sethi, Deputy Leader, BJP Legislative party