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Pipili bypoll: Naveen focuses on women voters, BJP gears up for the kill

13/04/2021 at 8:32 PM

Sourabha Parida

Pipili, April 13: Both ruling BJD and BJP have geared up for Pipili bypoll leaving no stone unturned to woo voters. A day after Odisha Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik’s virtual campaign for the bypoll, BJP today staged a road show and mega rally to showcase its strength.

Two power banks of BJP – Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and National Spokesperson Sambit Patra, who lost Puri Lok Sabha seat giving a tough fight to BJD candidate and sitting BJD Puri MP Pinaki Misra in his home turf, today hogged the limelight in the constituency.

In 2019 election, Pradeep Maharathy had won with 88,518 votes defeating Ashrit Pattanayak who got 72,731 votes. Congress candidate Ajit Mangaraj had secured only 9,830 votes.

The BJP candidate in the 2019 election Pattanayak had given a tough fight to Pradeep Maharathy but lost with a margin of 15,787 votes.

This time, the bypoll is witnessing a close fight between ruling BJD candidate Rudra Pratap Maharathy, son of late MLA Pradeep Maharathy and BJP candidate Ashrit Pattanayak.

Sambit Patra had good vote share from Pipili Assembly constituency and this time he has camped here heading the campaign trail.

Sympathy vote apart, the BJD is banking on the ‘acceptability of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’ who has a huge women fan base in the state and he played the dart during yesterday’s virtual campaign appealing the women voters to bless him by casting their votes to BJD.

Hundreds of office bearers of BJD have camped in the constituency, whereas the BJP is campaigning on local issues to split BJD vote bank. The saffron party is focusing on party heavy weights visiting door to door to change voters’ mood by discussing government apathy towards them and highlighting corruption in disbursement of Fani assistance by the Centre to the real beneficiaries that is trending on social media along with Patra’s oratory skill to split women vote bank of BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik.

According to media reports, Sambit Patra’s home to home ‘interaction campaign’ with women voters as a family member has played some role in BJP emerging stronger there.

Moreover, the strategy laid by BJP heavyweight Dharmendra Pradhan has managed to pull back some ground.

The polling for the constituency will be held on April 17 and votes are to be counted on May 2.

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