Monday, May 29, 2023

Odisha bypoll: BJD wins big in Jharsuguda, BJP’s vote share rises

With a convincing victory in the Jharsuguda by-election on Saturday, the ruling Biju Janata Dal led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in Odisha is back on a winning streak ahead of the assembly and Lok Sabha polls next year.
Backed by the popularity of the chief minister and sympathy wave, the BJD’s rookie candidate Dipali Das defeated her nearest BJP rival Tankadhar Tripathy by 48,721 votes, securing nearly 3,000 more votes than what her father, health minister Naba Kisore Das, did in 2019. His assassination necessitated the by-election in Jharsuguda. The regional party has won six of the seven by-polls held in the state after the 2019 elections. The only defeat it suffered was in Dhamnagar when the BJP retained the seat in November last year.
In Jharsuguda, Dipali Das secured a total of 1,07,198 votes receiving 60.93 per cent of the votes polled, while Tripathy bagged 58,477 votes (33.24 per cent). Congress candidate Tarun Pandey came third with 4,496 votes (2.56 per cent), the Election Commission said. The six other candidates in the fray got much less than NOTA’s (None of the above) share of 2,074 votes. The BJD won the Jharsuguda seat for the second consecutive time after Naba Kishore Das joined the regional party. He had earlier won the seat twice in 2009 and 2014 as a Congress candidate. In 2019, the ruling party secured 55.97 per cent of the votes polled, 4.96 per cent less than what it did this time.
The saffron party too raised its vote share from 30.04 per cent in 2019 to 33.24 per cent this year. However, the Congress’s vote per cent dropped from 10.68 per cent to 2.56 per cent. As many as 79.21 per cent of voters exercised their franchise on May 10.
Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik spoke to Dipali Das and congratulated her on the victory. An overwhelmed Dipali thanked Patnaik for campaigning for her. “Though I lost my father, I got the father-like blessings and support from Naveen Patnaik ji,” she said after winning.
Jubilant BJD workers erupted into celebrations in Jharsuguda and at the party office in Bhubaneswar. They played drums, burst firecrackers and distributed sweets, while the BJP state headquarters wore a deserted look.
BJP state president Manmohan Samal, however, said that the party has raised its vote share despite being defeated.
He said the BJP will introspect on the reasons behind its defeat in Jharsuguda.
Congress state Congress Sarat Pattnayak blamed the debacle on the shifting of the party’s rank and file to BJD after 2019.


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