Bhubaneswar: BJD candidate Barsha Singh Bariha has secured an unassailable lead in Padampur byelection in Odisha by securing over 57.80 per cent of the votes polled and is leading over her nearest rival Pradip Purohit of BJP by over 38,252 votes.
Bariha, who has maintained her lead right from the beginning of counting, has secured 1,09,879 votes at the end of the 21st round of counting.
Out the 2.09 lakh votes polled in the December 5 by-election, Purohit, who all along remained the runners’ up in the race, has bagged 71,627 or 37.68 per cent votes.
Congress candidate Satya Bhusan Sahu could manage to secure only 3,365 or 1.75 per cent votes.
Bariha is the daughter of late MLA Bijay Ranjan Singh Bariha whose death in October necessitated the by-poll.
Her insurmountable lead has surprised the BJP camp. “Her lead is unexpected. A large chunk of Congress votes has shifted to the BJD. I accept the verdict of people with humility,” Purohit told reporters even before result of the by-poll was announced.
BJP, he said, will undertake a postmortem of the by-poll result.
An overwhelmed Bariha thanked Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik for campaigning for her.
Patnaik’s whirlwind campaign was a “game changer” for BJD, she said.
“Thanks to our CM and the people of Padampur. My late father’s goodwill also earned blessings from the people,” the 29-year-old law graduate said.
The BJD has so far secured nearly 16% more votes than in 2019 when its vote share was 41%.
The constituency has been witnessing close battles in the last two elections. Purohit had defeated Bijay Ranjan Singh Bariha by 4,513 votes in 2014. In the 2009 election, Bariha had defeated Congress candidate Satya Bhusan Sahu by 18,066 votes.