Bargarh: Biju Janata Dal (BJD) candidate Ritu Sahu won Bijepur Assembly constituency seat with a massive 101435 votes, decimating the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress on its way. Naveen Patnaik-led BJD won the seat after a gap of 14 years.
Congress, which held the seat since 2004, was reduced to a mere fraction of its previous shell. The party secured a little over 10,000 votes. BJP, on the other hand, received over 59000 votes. NOTA or None of The Above took away the fourth largest chunk with more than 1600 votes.
The seat fell vacant after Congress MLA Subal Sahu died. His widow Ritu Sahu fought the bypolls on BJD ticket.
"The credit of BJD's victory goes to party chief Naveen Patnaik," Ritu Sahu told Zee News. "I am very happy about this victory," she added.
Right from the first round of counting, BJD emerged in the forefront. The party maintained its strong lead throughout the 21 rounds of counting. Earlier, state Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had said, “Our candidate will win by a handsome margin."
The byelections had become a prestige battle for the BJD, BJP, and Congress, its results an indicator of upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha polls. A total of 13 candidates were in the fray. More than 2.2 lakh voters (72 per cent) exercised their franchise on Saturday, February 24.
BJP which won last year’s panchayat elections, was hoping to make inroads into the BJD bastion.
The voting process was largely peaceful as a heavy deployment of security personnel was made across the constituency.