Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal (BJD) retained the Padampur Assembly seat by winning the bypoll after defeating the nearest BJP rival by a huge margin of 42,679 votes.
BJD's Barsha Singh Bariha polled 1,20,807 (58 per cent) votes, BJP candidate Pradeep Purohit managed 78,128 (37.51 per cent) votes, while Congress' Satya Bhusan Sahu finished a distant third with only 3,594 (1.73 per cent) votes.
"BJD's Barsha Singh Bariha won the Padampur by-election by a margin of 42,679 votes," said Bargarh district electoral officer and collector, Monisha Banerjee.
Thanking the people of Padampur for their support, Barsha said she will work to realise the dreams of her late father Bijay Ranjan Singh Bariha, whose death in October necessitated the bypoll, and redress the issues facing the local people.
Meanwhile, Purohit claimed that he was defeated in the bypoll as the ruling party was able to grab all the votes of the Congress.
On the other hand, Congress leader Jaydev Jena alleged that a huge amount of money was distributed by the ruling party to win the bypoll.
BJD candidate Barsha secured 37,508 more votes than what his late father Bijaya Ranjan had managed in the 2019 Assembly elections.
Similarly, Purohit, who fought the 2019 poll pon a BJP ticket, was able to get a little more votes this time. In 2019, Purohit had polled 77,565 votes.
On the other hand, it was a debacle for the Congress in the bypoll as party nominee Sahu's votes came down drastically. Sahu had bagged 32,787 votes in the last elections held in 2019.
It shows that the BJP was able to protect its votes, while the BJD gained from Congress' vote loss.
Both BJD and BJP had utilised their entire forces in the bypoll. This by-election was crucial for the BJD as it lost the recently-concluded Dhamnagar bypoll to BJP.
More than a dozen ministers, several MLAs and leaders from all wings of the BJD had camped in different blocks and panchayats of the constituency to ensure victory for the party.
For the first after the 2019 general elections, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik campaigned for the bypoll in Padampur.
The Chief Minister had announced sops for different categories of people and had assured the public that their demand to declare Padampur as a separate district will be fulfilled in 2023.
On the other hand, the BJP also fought the poll battle with great strength. Union Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar, Dharmendra Pradhan, Ashwini Vaishnaw and Bishwsar Tudu had campaigned for the by-election.
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