Bhubaneswar: All three major political parties in the state have geared up to fight for the Bijepur Assembly seat in the by-poll, for which dates will be announced soon. The Election Commission may announce the schedule by the end of this month, sources said.
Ruling BJD has already started preparation for the by-poll and senior leaders Prafulla Mallik, Niranjan Pujari and Susanta Singh have been tasked with preliminary ground work, party sources said.
Speculation is rife that Rita Sahu, widow of former MLA late Subal Sahu, may be the BJD candidate for the seat. Recently, she had attended a government programme in the locality along with other leaders.
“We are ready to fight the by-election for Bijepur at any time. Recently, while attending the extended district executive committee meeting of Bargarh, party workers from Bijepur area confidently said that our party will win the by-poll with huge margin,” Mallik said.
Mallik, the Bargarh district observer of BJD, said party president will decide on the candidate.
Similarly, Opposition BJP has also claimed that it will win the Bijepur seat this time surely. “Last time during general election, we lost the poll because Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik himself contested from the seat. But, this time, BJP candidate will definitely win the seat,” said Leader of Opposition Pradipta Naik. The BJP leader said its leadership will decide who will be the candidate for the seat. Names of BJP leaders like Pradip Purohit and Sanat Kumar Gartia are doing the rounds.
Congress has formed a panel under the chairmanship of senior leader Narasingha Mishra to suggest a suitable candidate for the seat. Sources said the panel has already submitted its report to the party chief and process is on to win the seat, which was with the Congress. The party, however, will not field 2019 election candidate–Ripunath Seth—again, the source said.