Bijepur: The Bijepur Assembly segment in Bargarh district may witness a third electoral battle in less than two years since 2018. After the demise of former MLA Subal Sahu, the ruling Biju Janata Dal retained its hegemony by winning the Bijepur bypoll with a respectable number of votes.
BJD candidate Rita Sahu, the widow of Subal Sahu, garnered 1,02,871 votes in 2018 after 20 rounds of counting, by defeating her nearest rival Ashok Panigrahi of BJP by 41,933 votes.
However, the voters of Bijepur segment had to cast their votes once again in 2019 general elections. BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik won the Assembly seat with a record number of votes, which is now lying vacant after he abdicated the seat.
Notably, Patnaik resigned the seat in June last while retaining the Hinjili seat in Ganjam district that made the bypoll for Bijepur seat inevitable. The date may be announced any time, as three months have already passed since Naveen’s resignation.
Meanwhile, political parties, voters and aspirants are curious to know the next course of action unfolding in the constituency. While the electorates are keeping mum regarding their mindset, debate is going on in every nook and corner of the town for the upcoming bypoll.
Although, the bypoll date is yet to be declared, the party is carrying on its organisational work, said a BJP activist in Bijepur.
“We have the support of people for various popular programmes and schemes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” said Arupananda Sahu of BJP.
“BJD has a very firm grip in Bijepur Assembly segment. The party has constituted 16-member committees at each booth and ward, in which one-third of the members are women, whereas saffron camp is in a weaker position,” said BJD leader Narayan Sahu.
“The BJD government has cheated the people of Bijepur and it has failed to fulfill its election promises. Despite getting massive mandate, the Chief Minister himself has cheated the voters here, by vacating the Bijepur Assembly constituency seat,” said Congress leader Pradeep Debata.