Aparajita Sarangi Calls For Revisiting Strategies As BJD Gains Big In Odisha’s Padampur

Bhubaneswar: With BJD heading for a landslide victory in Padampur bypoll in Odisha’s Bargarh district, BJP MP Aparajita Sarangi on Wednesday that there must have been some mistake in the saffron party’s strategies which lead to its debacle after the Dhamnagar bypoll win.

After 21 of 23 rounds of counting, Barsha Singh Bariha was ahead of her nearest rival Pradip Purohit by 38252 having grabbed 1,09,879 votes, which is more than 50% of the total 2,09,309 votes polled in Padampur.

The Bhubaneswar MP said the issues raised by BJP in Padampur were important and need to be addressed. “There is a need for the party to introspect. We need to revisit our strategies since we had fielded one of the best candidates possible. But I am hopeful that the electorate would vote for the saffron party in 2024,” she said.

Upbeat after Dhamnagar win, the party had launched aggressive campaigning to wrest Padampur from BJD and create momentum ahead of the 2024 polls. Three Union Ministers – Dharmendra Pradhan, Ashwini Vaishnav and Bishweswar Tudu – were seen campaigning for the party. Aparajita, who once served there as Bargarh collector, was also in Padampur seeking votes for Pradip Purohit.

The BJD, on the other hand, had pressed all its trusted old guards and leaders of western Odisha into action. Party president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik physically campaigned for party nominee Barsha, marking his first trail appearance for any by-election since 2019.

Even before the poll dates were announced, the CM declared a Rs 488 crore package for the constituency. Later came Rs 200 crore input subsidy for farmers, a special package for kendu leaf pluckers, a hike in the limit for interest-free loans for women self-help group members, from Rs 3 to Rs 5 lakh and land in Puri and Bhubaneswar for Kulta and Meher communities having sizeable numbers in Padampur. Naveen also promised formation of a separate Padmapur district by December 23, 2023.

Padampur also saw much political heat with the Income Tax department conducting dawn-to-dusk raids at the residences of three local businessmen, considered close to deceased BJD MLA Bijaya Ranjan Singh Bariha, whose death necessitated the bypoll. In an apparent retaliation, state GST authorities raided commercial establishments and petrol pumps of local BJP leaders hours later.

Campaigning by high-profile Union Cabinet Ministers, raids on party loyalists by the Income Tax department and the state GST authorities, and Naveen’s announcement spree clearly showed that stakes were very high for the ruling BJD and the opposition BJP in the by-election, which was also seen as a precursor to the simultaneous general and Assembly elections in Odisha due in 2024.



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