BHUBANESWAR: The ruling BJD has decided to field Sabitri Agarwalla, wife of late Bed Prakash Agarwalla from the Patkura Assembly constituency. She will face BJP veteran Bijoy Mohapatra from the seat. Election to Patkura Assembly seat was postponed to May 19 following the death of Bed Prakash who had been fielded from the seat as BJD candidate. Announcement of Sabitri’s candidature from Patkura was made by Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik here on Monday.
Speculation was rife that the ruling party would field Bed Prakash’s son Sanjay from the seat to take on Mohapatra. According to ECI notification, the last day of filing of nomination papers is May 1. Verification of the nomination papers will be done on May 2 while the last date for withdrawal is May 4. Congress has renominated Jayanta Mohanty from the seat. Jayanta had lost to BJD candidate Bed Prakash by over 47,000 votes in the 2014 Assembly elections from the seat.
The BJD had won from the Assembly constituency in three consecutive terms - 2014, 2009 and 2004. While Bed Prakash was elected in 2014 and 2009, Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak won from the seat in 2004. Atanu, a former minister shifted to Mahakalapada Assembly seat from 2009 after the delimitation of constituencies in 2008.
Mohapatra had represented the seat for 20 years from 1980 to 2000 during which he was elected four times. Mohapatra was elected for the first time from the seat in 1980 by-poll on Janata Party (Secular) ticket. While he was elected on Janata Party ticket in 1985 elections, in 1990 and 1995 polls he won on Janata Dal ticket.
Mohapatra could not contest the 2000 Assembly elections as his BJD ticket was withdrawn hours before filing of nomination papers came to a close. However, Trilochan Behera, the All India Trinamool Congress candidate who was backed by Mohapatra won that election.