Reacting on the win, Patnaik said, "I would like to express my gratitude to the public for showering their blessings on the BJD".
Bhubaneswar/Bargarh: With only hours remaining for announcement of the result of the Bijepur bypoll, infighting has ensued within Congress with senior party leader Sura Routray bringing backstabbing allegations against a few party leaders. "Our people are peace loving and have rejected the politics of hatred and violence", Naveen Patnaik tweeted.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the outcome of the polls would have an impact on the 2019 Assembly elections. On the other hand, BJP and Congress offices wore a deserted look. Rita Sahu was fielded as a BJD candidate in the by-polls after her husband Subal Sahu died in August, 2017.
Naveen Patnaik's Biju Janata Dal delivered a thumping victory in a bypoll that his party and the Bharatiya Janata Party contested like everything was at stake.
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The by-poll was held on February 24 in which around 82 percent of voters had exercised their franchise. Campaigning reached fever high in this assembly segment with the biggies of BJD and BJP camping in the area.
Sahu was accompanied by Labour Minister Sushant Singh, Handlooms Minister Snehangini Chhuria and hundreds of party workers during her meeting with Naveen.
Bijepur had become a prestige issue for the BJD and BJP ahead of the Assembly election and the General Election scheduled next year.
Mr. Panigrahi, a former BJD legislator, had joined the BJP in October previous year. The voters' verdict has come as a blow to the BJP as well as Congress in many ways than one.
Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas who had led the BJP's campaign told ET, "We are politely accepting the verdict". BJD won the seat in 2000. The elevation of Rahul Gandhi infused long-awaited vigour into the cadre which incidentally resulted in consolidation its vote bank to some extent.