The ruling Biju Janata Dal on Tuesday named Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik among its 40 star campaigners for the May 31 bypoll to Brajrajnagar assembly segment in Jharsuguda district. The regional party made this announcement after the opposition Congress and BJP invited neighbouring Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and its ex-CM Raman Singh to campaign for their party candidates in Brajrajnagar assembly seat respectively. Patnaik, who did not campaign in previous by-elections in Pipili, Tirtol and Balasore assembly seats, may this time go for campaigning, party sources said.
The Brajrajnagar Assembly seat is likely to witness a triangular fight between BJD’s Alaka Mohanty, former MLA Radharani Panda of BJP and Kishore Patel of Congress. Apart from Patnaik, the BJD’s star campaigners list also comprised two Odia filmstars Arindam Roy and Akash Das Nayak.
The other BJD star campaigners are Odisha ministers Niranjan Pujari, Pratap Jena, Arun Kumar Sahoo, Samir Ranjan Dash, Naba Kishore Das, Susant Singh, Tukuni Sahu, D S Mishra and Cuttack Mayor Subhas Singh The BJP star campaigner list includes the name of five Union Ministers – Piyush Goel, Dharmendra Pradhan, Pralhad Joshi, Ashwini Vaishnaw and Biseswar Tudu.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and Kanhaiya Kumar will campaign for Congress candidate Kishore Patel.Congress Odisha in-charge A Chellakumar, OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik, Kantabanji MLA Santosh Singh Saluja, former OPCC presidents Sarat Patnaik, Jayadev Jena, and legislators Mohammed Moquim, Narasingha Mishra, Tara Prasad Bahinipati and Suresh Kumar Routray will also participate in the campaign.
A total of 2,14,261 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in the bypoll, which was necessitated due to the death of BJD’s Brajarajnagar MLA Kishore Mohanty on December 30 last year. The counting of votes will take place on June 3.