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Odisha bypolls 2018: BJD's Rita Sahu wins Bijepur seat, CM Patnaik's swift decision pays-off

By Chennabasaveshwar

Biju Janata Dal (BJD) snatched Bijepur assembly seat from Congress after a gap of 15 years. BJD won the seat in 2000. BJD's Rita Sahu won the bypoll ahead of 2019 general elections with a margin of 41,933 votes against BJP and Congress on Wednesday.

Rita Sahu

Rita Sahu secured 102871 votes and BJP's Ashok Panigrahy got 60938 votes. Congress was pushed to the third spot as Pranay Sahu garnered 10274 votes.

As soon as trends indicated Rita Sahu's thumping victory, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik thanked Bijepur voters for the support.

Former PCC president Niranjan Patnaik blames state PCC and AICC for defeat in by-poll. He said delayed selection of candidate also responsible for the defeat.

Rita and her two sons had joined the BJD in September 2017, along with their supporters. CM Naveen Patnaik had announced his decision to make Rita Sahu the BJD candidate after the party's vice-president Prasanna Acharya made a statement that the party was yet to take a decision on the issue.

Rita is the wife of Congress MLA Subal Sahu. The Bijepur seat had fallen vacant after the demise of Sahu.

The by-poll was necessitated due to death of Congress MLA Subal Sahu. For the first time, Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines were used in the Bijepur by-poll.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had spent a night in the constituency during his hectic two-day schedule of rallies.

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