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Again, this is Naveen Patnaik. His party, BJD, registered a massive victory in the Patkura by-election over BJP. Bijay Mohapatra of BJP could muster 78,097 votes while BJD’s Sabitri Agarwalla got 96,017 votes- a winning margin of 17,920 votes. Congress candidate Jayanta Mohanty found only 2,104 votes in his account and, he lost his deposit.
Patkura assembly constituency was made to go for a by-election on July 20 as BJD candidate Ved Prakash Agarwalla passed away during the election run-up in April. The event led to rescheduling the election program. April 29 was the scheduled date for the hustings then.
BJD fielded Ved Prakash Agarwalla’s widow Sabitri Agarwalla while four-time MLA Bijay Mohapatra was the candidate of BJP. Jayanta Mohanty from Congress and seven others were also in the fray, but, the ultimate contest turned out to be a bi-polar event between Bijay Mohapatra and Sabitri Agarwalla.
Naveen Pattnaik had put his prestige in stake in this contest as it involved Bijaya Mohapatra. In Odisha, there goes a classic tale of animosity between Naveen Patnaik and Bijay Mohapatra following an event in 2000. Naveen Patnaik had neutralized Bijay Mohapatra, a political powerhouse then, in a tactical manner just before the election.
Since then, Mr. Mohapatra has been struggling to make it the assembly, but, his political prowess still makes him stand as a potential threat to Naveen Pattnaik.
The Patkura By-election witnessed tens of ministers of the Naveen Cabinet and more than 40 legislators engaged in Patkura against Bijay Mohapatra.
And, BJD clinched the result to their satisfaction. With the win, BJD’s tally of seats in the 147-member Odisha assembly goes up to 112.