Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

The ruling BJD has suffered an electoral setback ahead of the crucial by-election to Jharsuguda assembly seat with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) scripting a win in the bypoll of Zilla Parishad zone 11 under Gop block in Puri district on Thursday.

BJP candidate Pramod Ray emerged victorious in the bypoll. In the keenly-contested bypoll, Ray defeated his nearest rival and BJD candidate Bhagirathi Senapati by 183 votes.

While Ray garnered a total of 11,247 votes, Senapati got 11,064 votes. As many as nine candidates were in the fray.

The by-election was necessitated following the mysterious death of BJD member from the zone Dharmendra Sahu. School and Mass Education Minister Samir Ranjan Dash was embroiled in the controversy following the death of Sahu.

Ray thanked all the voters of zone number 11 for his victory.

“The victory is due to the support of all the voters of zone 11. I congratulate them for the victory. I was with the people earlier and I will be with them always. With this commitment, I contested the election. I will work for the people with full determination,” said Ray.

BJP leader Prabhati Parida also congratulated all the voters for the party’s victory.

“It is not only the victory of Pramod Ray, but also the BJP and all the people and women of the zone. Dharmendra Sahu had told that Samir Ranjan Dash was responsible for his death. However, the government had suppressed the case. But the people gave justice to him and proved that Dash is responsible for the murder. I am extending my gratitude to all the people of zone number 11,” said Parida.

As per experts, BJP’s win from the zone is definitely a setback for BJD ahead of the 2024 general election.