BJD beats BJP to win Patkura Assembly elections

The Naveen Patnaik-led ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha won the important Patkura Assembly constituency in coastal Kendrapara district, defeating BJP by a comfortable margin of more than 17,000 votes. PTI file photo

The Naveen Patnaik-led ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha won the important Patkura Assembly constituency in coastal Kendrapara district, defeating BJP by a comfortable margin of more than 17,000 votes.

The election for the lone Assembly seat was held on July 20 and the result was declared on Thursday.

The polling for the Patkura Assembly seat was countermanded during the simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in the state in April, following the death of sitting MLA and BJD nominee Bed Prakash Agarwal.

A fresh election was to be held in the important Assembly constituency in the month of May but that too had to be cancelled at the last minute because of cyclone Fani.

For the July 20 poll, the BJD had chosen Agarwal’s widow, Sabitri Agarwal, who defeated BJP heavyweight Bijoy Mohapatra by a margin of 17,920 votes.

While Sabitri managed to garner 96,017 votes, Mohapatra polled 78,097 votes. The third major player in the fray, Congress’ Jayant Mohanry, could capture only 2,104 votes and lost his deposit.

Acid test 

The Patkura election was considered an acid test for BJD chief and Chief Minister Patnaik, as the BJP nominee Mohapatra, a former founder member of the BJD, was known to be his long-time rival.

Mohapatra was sacked from the BJD on the eve of Assembly polls in 2000, following his differences with Patnaik on various issues. Since then, BJD had successfully prevented all his (Mohapatra’s) attempts to enter the state assembly.

During this election too, the BJD had left no stone unturned to defeat Mohapatra and more than half of Patnaik’s cabinet had camped in the coastal Assembly constituency to supervise the election and ensure victory for party candidate Sabitri, who contested an election for the first time.

Patnaik himself also had campaigned extensively in the coastal constituency, once represented by his late father Biju Patnaik.

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