Assembly polls 2024: Odisha debutants turn giantkillers; meet fresh faces to become MLAs in post-Patnaik era

BJP's Upasna Mohapatra and Congress's Sofia Firdous made winning debuts in Odisha

Odisha MLAs Sofia Firdous (L) of the Congress and Upasna Mohapatra of the BJP Debutant Odisha MLAs Sofia Firdous (L) of the Congress and Upasna Mohapatra of the BJP | Official X

The Naveen Patnaik era officially came to an end in Odisha on Tuesday after Biju Janata Dal (BJD) was humbled by a spirited BJP in the Assembly polls. The septuagenarian chief minister Patnaik himself was beaten by the BJP in the Kantabanji seat as the saffron party managed to win 78 of the state's 147 Assembly segments.

The fall of Naveen Patnaik, meanwhile, also marked the beginning of the political career for a handful of candidates in Odisha. Here are some candidates who managed to walk away with a victory on their debut bouts. 

 Upasna Mohapatra: Incidentally, the youngest MLA in the new Odisha Assembly is a fresh face. The distinction goes to BJP's Upasna Mohapatra, who emerged victorious after Tuesday's counting from Brahmagiri Assembly seat. The 26-year-old "content creator", is the daughter of late Congress strongman Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra, reports showed. Upasana polled 9,830 votes more than her closest rival -- Umakanta Samantaray of the BJD.

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Durga Prasan Nayak : Durga Prasan Nayak of BJP, who contested from the Mahakalpada segment, deserves a special mention in this list. In his first outing, the 46-year-old managed to defeat BJD heavyweight Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak. The Health Minister of the outgoing Patnaik government was defeated by the BJP nominee by a margin of 33,526 votes. 

 Sitansu Sekhar Mohapatra: Prafulla Samal, a founding member of the BJD and six-time MLA, also suffered a similar result at the hands of a debutant. BJP's Sitansu Sekhar Mohapatra, 41, shocked Samal in the Bhadrak Assembly seat by running away with a majority of 16,068 votes. Mohapatra crossed the six-digit mark by polling 1,09,653 while the BJD veteran could only manage 76,127.

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Amarendra Das: Das, another BJP debutant, triumphed in Jagatsinghpur by defeating BJD’s Prasanta Kumar Muduli by a margin of 22,138 votes. The 49-year-old lawyer polled 92,555 votes against the incumbent MLA's 70,417. 

Goutam Budhha Das: There were newcomers in the Congress and BJD ranks as well, who tasted victory on debuts. At 52, BJD’s Goutam Budhha Das was given a chance to become the MLA from Bhograi Assembly seat. He replaced incumbent MLA and party colleague Ananta Das and won by a margin of 6,564 votes. It was Congress candidate Satya Shiba Das of Congress who was defeated for a third consecutive time from the seat, data showed.

Sunil Kumar Mohanty: 38-year-old Sunil Kumar Mohanty was handed the responsibility of wresting the prestigious Puri seat for Naveen Patnaik's party from the BJP. Despite a setback for the BJD across Odisha, 38-year-old Mohanty defeated Jayanta Kumar Sarangi of the BJP by a margin of 5,178 to mark a remarkable start to his career in parliamentary politics.

Sofia Firdous: For the Indian National Congress, Sofia Firdous won a battle of debutants in the Barabati-Cuttack seat. The first-ever Muslim woman MLA in Odisha, The 32-year-old thumped a much senior Purna Chandra Mahapatra by a margin of 8,001 votes. Sofia Firdous was allotted the seat after her father and senior Congress leader Mohammed Moquim was disqualified from contesting polls following his conviction in a corruption case, media reports said.

(Data via ECI website)

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