Biju Janata Dal (BJD) chief and Odisha Chief Minister will contest from Hinjili and Bijepur assembly seats in the upcoming elections to elect a new Legislative Assembly. Patnaik who has been serving the state since 2000, is an MLA from Hinjli seat in Ganjam district. He has won the seat in every election held since 2000.
The Hinji Assembly seat falls in Aska parliamentary constituency. Elections in this Lok Sabha seat will be held in the second phase on April 18.
The Bijepur seat falls in Bargarh Lok Sabha seat. The assembly seat is currently represented by Congress’ Subal Sahu since 2009. The Bijepur seat will also go to polls on April 18.
Patnaik’s decision to contest from two assembly seats assumes significance as it comes in the backdrop of BJP’s good show in the 2017 panchayat elections. The eastern state has always seen a one-sided battle with BJD emerging as the people’s favourite. This time though, the BJP is gearing up to give a tough fight to BJD. The saffron party has already launched a fierce campaign in the state and has been highlighting the failures of the Patnaik government. The BJP’s campaign is led by Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
The party has made significant gains in the last few months with several BJD leaders quitting the party and joining BJP. Those who have quit the BJD to join BJP include Baijayant Panda, party MP from Nabarangpur Balabhadra Majhi, former Odisha minister Damodar Rout. Party’s Nilagiri MLA Sukanta Kumar Nayak has also announced his departure saying he was subjected to mental torture by the BJD leadership.
Patnaik also faces contest in the form of Congress which has been flexing its muscle in the state. Party president Rahul Gandhi has been addressing back-to-back rallies in the state and attacking both BJD and BJP, even going to the extent of alleging a nexus between the two parties.
This will be the first time elections in the state will be held in four phases. The first phase of polling will be held on April 11 and third and fourth phases will be held on April 23 and 29. Results will be declared on May 23. The tenure of Odisha Legislative Assembly expires on June 11.