By-Poll Pressure On Parties

All the three major parties in State—BJD, BJP and Congress – are under pressure for the by-elections to two Assembly constituencies- Patkura in Kendrapara district and Bijepur in Bargarh district-- in State.

Election to Patkura Assembly was countermanded due to the death of the ruling BJD candidate Bed Prakas Agarwal while Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has vacated the Bijepur Assembly seat in Bargarh district.
This will be third election in Bijepur in two years. By-election was held in the constituency in 2018 due to the death of Congress MLA Subal Sahu in which Sahu’s wife and BJD candidate Ritarani had won convincingly.
There was strong resentment in the BJP in the constituency as it had fielded a former BJD leader and the benefit was reaped by the ruling party as the contest was a straight one between the BJD and BJP.
The Congress which did enter the fray, rather reluctantly, was not in the reckoning.
However, Ritarani had withdrawn from the fray during the recently concluded General Election in favour of Chief Minister and BJD supremo who contested from two seats—traditional Hinjli and Bijepur.
However, the BJP has increased its sphere of influence in the constituency performing significantly better during the rural polls held in the state earlier.
The situation is interesting this time as the saffron party has won five Lok Sabha seats, including Bargarh Lok Sabha seat in Western Odisha while the Assembly segments have been captured by the BJD and a win in Bijepur has become the prestige issue for both the BJD and BJP.  
In Patkura, senior BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra is pitted against the widow of Bed Prakash Agarwal.
Mr.Mohapatra has been out of Assembly for nearly two decades after Naveen Patnaik dropped him at the last minute to provide a chance to Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak during the 2000 election.
Mr.Mohapatra had later joined the saffron party and was given a ticket during 2019 election by the party.
Patkura falls under Kendrapara Lok Sabha constituency which has been captured totally by the ruling BJD.
Hence Patkura too has become a prestige issue for both the rival parties.
The Congress, which received a severe drubbing in the recently concluded election, is expected to try to win the constituency as and when it goes to polls.

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