Politics Over Vacant Bijepur Assembly Seat Heats Up

Bhubaneswar: A day after BJD supremo and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik vacated Bijepur Assembly Constituency under Bargarh Parliamentary Constituency (PC) preferring to retain his home turf and pocket borough Hinjili under Aska PC, political reactions started brewing up the very next day at the capital city here.

While main opposition BJP dubbed it as an insult to the people of western Odisha region, Congress questioned the rationale behind Naveen contesting the general polls this time from two seats simultaneously.

Convening a press conference, Sambalpur BJP MLA Jayanarayan Mishra burst, “Naveen Babu had contested Bijepur poll owing to the request made by some locals. Why did he contest the election there and why did he reject western Odisha? We’re unable to understand.”

The senior BJP MLA commented, “He (Naveen Patnaik) claims that he is laying stress on western Odisha. Till date we’re unable to understand what stress he has laid and what projects he has presented to western Odisha.”

“It all seems that he has rejected and betrayed the people of the place even after the people of a new seat elected him with ample votes. We had fought with our utmost ability in a bid to defeat him. In the by-poll, the people of Bijepur will give a befitting reply,” Jaynarayan quipped.

Senior Congress MLA Suresh Chandra Routray said, “The people of Bijepur will cast vote in our favour in a bid to take revenge on Naveen Patnaik quitting the seat. Why did he vacate? What for did he contest from double seats?”

On the contrary, Jharsuguda BJD MLA-cum-Health Minister Naba Kishore Das retorted, “Why did Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik contest from two seats and also got defeated from both the seats? Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has made it clear that he will be MLA of a seat and shoulder the responsibility of the vacated seat of Bijepur. What does it mean? When the Chief Minister asserts that he will review the development of Bijepur, the people need development or MLA?”

On BJP’s comment, Das hit back, “Who is betraying whom? It has already been proved by the people’s mandate of 2019. The people of Odisha have given their verdict against BJP’s 120 Mission.”

“Bijepur’s future is bright. Whoever will be fielded as the candidate by our Chief Minister, the candidate will win bagging over one lakh votes,” he claimed.

BJD general secretary Subhas Chouhan defended, “It’s the complete right of our hon’ble Chief Minister to choose his successor for the Bijepur. I’m a disciplined worker of the party. If I’m deemed fit for the post, I’ll work accordingly. In politics, whatever the boss wishes that is to be obeyed.”

Notably, regional satrap Naveen Patnaik unprecedentedly contested from two assembly seats in the recent general elections and has won comfortably from both. But, Hinjili has been his stronghold since 2000 till date. Patnaik had also clarified that the people of Bijepur soon after its by-poll results in 2018 had requested him to be the candidate this time instead of sitting MLA Rita Sahu.