Odisha Assembly bypoll: BJD retains Brajrajnagar seat, BJP loses deposit
The result has, however, come as good news for the Congress, which overcame the organisational disarray and rampant factionalism in the State organisation to come second.
Published: 04th June 2022 08:34 AM | Last Updated: 04th June 2022 08:34 AM | A+A A-
BHUBANESWAR: The ruling BJD on Friday inflicted a crushing blow to the BJP in its perceived stronghold of western Odisha by not only retaining the Brajrajnagar Assembly seat in the bypoll with a huge margin but also relegating the saffron party to a distant third with loss of security deposit of its candidate.
While BJD candidate Alaka Mohanty secured 93,953 votes, defeating her nearest Congress rival Kishore Chandra Patel, who polled 27,831, by a margin of more than 66,000 votes, BJP's Radharani Panda got a measly 22,630 votes, 5,200 less than the Congress.
Though such a big margin was unexpected even for the BJD, the result is a big shocker for the BJP as Radharani had won the seat in 2014 and was defeated in 2019 by only 12,000 votes in a close contest.
Party's big guns including Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had campaigned for her, but all came a cropper. The result has, however, come as good news for the Congress, which overcame the organisational disarray and rampant factionalism in the State organisation to come second.
BJD retains Brajrajnagar, BJP loses deposit
The Congress leaders fought unitedly and managed to keep vote base of the party in the constituency almost intact. Kishore Chandra Patel had contested from the seat in 2014 elections and polled more than 38,000 votes.
The record win has further bolstered the BJD’s reputation as a rampaging election machine in Odisha, which polls after polls is pushing the Opposition to a state of 'also ran'. BJD leaders maintained that the party's record win from the constituency was the result of hard work, planning and execution for nearly a month ahead of other political parties.
Ten ministers and 30 MLAs were despatched to the constituency to approach every voter. As the party had set a target to increase the victory target by more than five times, ministers and MLAs were asked to camp in every village in the constituency.
Besides the solid base of Health and Family Welfare Minister Naba Kishore Das in the area, campaign by SHG members also hugely contributed to the victory. Sympathy factor in favour of Alaka also played a big role.
The bypoll victory by such a big margin following the record-breaking performance in the panchayat and urban local body elections has come as a huge boost for the party for the 2024 general elections. Congress and BJP, however, attributed the massive victory of BJD to misuse of official machinery and money power by the ruling party.
The Congress could not match the use of money by the BJD, Patel said. BJP's Rabi Naik also made similar charges against the ruling party and alleged that it was impossible to match the money power of BJD.
However, senior vice-president of the BJD Prasanna Acharya refuted the charges and said that the resounding victory is yet another instance people’s support and love for Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.