Biju Janata Dal bags Patkura Assembly seat
Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal on Wednesday won the Patkura Assembly constituency by defeating the BJP. The Congress finished third in the election held on July 20.BJD nominee Sabitri Agarwalla defeated BJP’s Bijoy Mohapatra by 17,920 votes. Ms. Agarwalla bagged 96,017 votes, while Mr. Mohapatra got 78,097 votes and lost yet another battle to enter the State Assembly for another term. Jayanta Mohanty of the Congress secured only 2,104 votes by the end of last round of counting of votes. Mr. Mohapatra, who won from Patkura four times – 1980, 1985, 1990 and 1995, was a member of Biju Patnaik’s Council of Ministers in his last term. Although he was a founder-member of the BJD, Mr. Mohapatra failed to contest the 2000 polls when the party cancelled his ticket at the last minute. He lost all elections in subsequent years. In 2001, he formed the Odisha Gana Parishad, which he later merged with the Nationalist Congress Party. He joined the BJP when the NCP turned an ally of the BJD before the 2009 polls. Often referred as Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik’s bête noire, Mr. Mohapatra quit the BJP in November last, but returned to the party again before this year’s general election.Polling in Patkura, which was initially scheduled for April 29 as part of the simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, was first adjourned due to the death of the Biju Janata Dal nominee – Ms. Agarwalla’s husband Bed Prakash Agarwalla.The Election Commission of India then fixed May 19 as the next date of polling, but it was postponed again due to Cyclone Fani that hit the State’s coast on May 3.The seat witnessed high-voltage campaigning, with senior leaders from the three major parties holding meetings to woo the voters. Mr. Patnaik also campaigned for Ms. Agarwalla for a day apart from a majority of his Ministers and party MLAs.