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Odisha bypolls 2020: Congress, BJD gear up to announce nominees; BJP declares candidates

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Bhubaneswar, Oct 12: With the BJP announcing its candidates for the upcoming by-polls to two Assembly constituencies in Odisha, political activities are gradually intensifying in the state as the ruling BJD and the Congress are zeroing in on their nominees.

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Manas Kumar Dutta, son of late MLA Madan Mohan Dutta, was on Sunday declared by the BJP as its candidate for Balasore Sadar seat, while Rajkishore Behera, who had left the Congress recently, has been fielded in Tirtol Assembly segment.

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The names of the two candidates were announced by BJP national general secretary Arun Singh, following a meeting of the party's central election committee, a senior leader said.

The BJP has fielded Dutta in Balasore Sadar seat, apparently in an effort to get sympathy votes as the death of his father, who represented the constituency since 2019 as a saffron party legislator, has necessitated the by-election.

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Expressing his gratitude to senior leaders of the BJP for reposing faith in him, Dutta said he will work hard to make the dreams of his father a reality and ensure the overall development of the constituency. It will be a maiden electoral battle for the 31-year- old candidate who happens to be a graphic designer.

Dutta was nominated as BJP's coordinator for the Assembly constituency around a month ago. Similarly, the by-election in the Tirtol Assembly constituency in Jagatsinghpur has been necessitated following the demise of BJD MLA Bishnu Charan Das.

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Behera, who has been picked by the saffron party for Tirtol seat, had recently left the Congress to join the saffron party. He had contested both 2009 and 2014 Assembly elections from the constituency as Congress nominee but lost.

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    AICC's Odisha in-charge A Chellakumar has already visited both the Assembly segments as part of the exercise to finalise party candidates for the by-elections. "Our candidates will be announced very soon," said a senior party leader.

    Similarly, senior leaders of the ruling BJD have been going to the two Assembly segments to gauge the mood of the party workers as well as voters before finalising the candidates.

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