Naveen Patnaik files nomination papers from second seat to counter BJP's campaign in western Odisha

He is contesting from Kantabanji and Hinjli


Odisha Chief Minister and ruling Biju Janata Dal chief Naveen Patnaik filed his nomination papers for the Kantabanji assembly constituency of Bolangir district in western Odisha on Thursday. This is the second seat from where he is filing his nomination papers after Hinjli assembly constituency Ganjam district of south Odisha.

Patnaik has been the sitting MLA from Hinjli since 2000, the year he became the chief minister. In 2019, he contested for the first time for a second assembly constituency, from the Bijepur assembly seat in western Odisha’s Bargarh district. He had won both the seats but retained Hinjli. This time too, he is likely to win from both the seats and retain one.

Speculations have started about who will contest from the seat that would be vacated by Patnaik. One of the names that is doing the rounds is of V.K. Pandian, a Tamil Nadu IAS officer who joined the BJD and emerged to be the star campaigner for the party. 

On Thursday, Patnaik flew to Tusra aerodrome in Bolangir district and then took a helicopter to Titlagarh subdivisional town to file his nomination papers at the sub-collector’s office. The Congress had won the Kantabanji seat in 2019 with the BJP placed second. 

Sitting MLA Santosh Singh Saluja of the Congress filed his nomination papers for Kantabanji while the BJP has fielded Laxman Bag again. 

In an effort to thwart BJP’s aspirations to replicate the 2019 success in the Lok Sabha polls in western Odisha, the BJD earlier had announced that Patnaik will be contesting from Kantabanji for the assembly elections. 

He is the only leader from the BJD contesting from two seats. 

In 2019, the BJP had won five Lok Sabha seats in western Odisha—Bolangir, Kalahandi, Bargarh, Sambalpur and Sundergarh—even though Patnaik had contested from Bijepur assembly seat under Bargarh Lok Sabha constituency. 

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