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By-poll: BJD records landslide victory, BJP slips to 3rd place

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Bhubaneswar, Jun 3: The ruling BJD in Odisha Friday registered a landslide victory in the Brajrajnagar assembly by-poll with its candidate Alaka Mohanty winning by a margin of 66,122 votes, pushing the opposition BJP to the third position for the first time since 2019. In the by-election, held ahead of the 2024 simultaneous general election and state poll, Mohanty secured 93,953 votes to defeat her nearest rival Congress veteran Kishore Patel, who bagged 27,831 votes.

BJD records landslide victory in by-poll, BJP slips to 3rd place

BJP candidate Radharani Panda, a former Brajrajnagar MLA, secured 22,630 votes and lost her deposit, according to the Election Commission. Mohanty won the seat riding the crest of the sympathy wave due to the unitimely death of her husband Brajrajnagar MLA Kishore Mohanty and the popularity of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

The Brajrajnagar by-poll margin is the highest in all the by-polls held in Odisha since 2019. According to the EC, the BJD candidate secured 61.25 per cent vote, Congress 18.14 per cent and BJP got 14.75 per cent, which is less than one sixth of the votes and lost the deposit.

The CPI candidate secured 2.02 per cent vote, while 0.99 per cent of voters preferred NOTA. There were total 11 candidates in the fray in the seat. In the counting held in 20 rounds, the ruling BJD candidate was in the lead from the beginning. BJD candidates had earlier won the by-polls in Bijepur, Balasore, Tirtol and Pipili.

In all these by-polls, BJP was in the second position, while Congress candidates had lost their deposits in all the seats except in Tirtol. The counting of votes started at 8 am Friday and concluded after 20 rounds. Of the 2,14,878 eligible voters, 71.73 per cent of them which is 1,553,716 had exercised their franchise on May 31.

Patnaik, who is also the BJD president, tweeted “I congratulate BJD candidate Alaka Mohanty over her victory. I also express my gratitude towards the people of Brajrajnagar and thank all the party workers and leaders who worked hard. This victory has reaffirmed our commitment towards pleddge for service.”

Mohanty said, “I am very grateful to CM Naveen Patnaik for having faith in me and giving me the ticket for the by-poll. I also want to thank party workers who worked really hard with me in scorching hit for the by-poll. Besides, I am thankful to the people of Brajrajnagar for their support. I will work really hard for overall development of the constituency.” Mohanty said she would work with all dedication as her husband Kishore Mohanty used to.

Brajrajnagar, an industrial town in Jharsuguda district, which used to be a strong bastion of CPI and Congress till 2009 went to BJP in 2014. Radharani Panda had won the elections in 2014 and the ruling BJD grabbed the seat in the last state election held in 2019. Newly appointed Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Sarat Pattnayak said that the Brajrajnagar election result has given a clear message to the people that Congress is the real opposition and not BJP.

"Both the BJD and BJP are two sides of a coin. The people have started realizing that BJP is the shadow opposition." Pattnayak said the 2024 general and state poll will be fought between BJD and Congress. Earlier this year, the BJD had captured about 90 per cent of the seats in the recently concluded panchayat and urban polls. PTI

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