Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal (BJP) supremo Naveen Patnaik on Monday announced that he will contest from Hinjili and Bijepur constituencies in upcoming Assembly election.
Patnaik also announced the names of candidates for 9 Parliamentary Constituencies and 54 Assembly constituencies.
On Sunday, it was reported that Patnaik was "seriously considering" a proposal to contest the assembly polls from a seat in western Odisha.
"Party leaders from western Odisha as well as farmers, women and students have requested me to contest from a constituency in the western region," Patnaik told reporters on Sunday.
It is to be noted that the Odisha Chief Minister currently represents Hinjili assembly seat in Ganjam district and he has won from this seat consecutively since 2000.
Patnaik's decision to enter into the fray from two seats sends a clear message that the BJD is wary of the BJP's growing popularity in the state. Congress President Rahul Gandhi's frequent visits to the state has also increased pressure on Patnaik to keep his popularity intact and stop the BJP and Congress from making inroads in the state.
Senior BJD leaders from western Odisha confirmed that they have urged Patnaik to fight the upcoming Assembly poll from a constituency in their region.
Hinjili is scheduled to go to polls in the second part of four-phase elections in the state. The constituency falls under Aska Lok Sabha constituency.
Meanwhile, the BJP had said that Patnaik's decision to contest from western Odisha will not help the BJD because his party has failed to do anything for the development of region. The BJP leaders claimed that Patnaik's decision makes it clear that the BJD is losing popularity in the state and the BJP is set to win the Assembly election.
Polling for 21 Lok Sabha seats and 147 Assembly constituencies in Odisha will be held simultaneously in four phases on April 11, 18, 23 and 29.