Pradeep Pattanayak

Bringing an end to all speculations, the Biju Janata Dal on Monday announced the name of Barsha Singh Bariha, deceased MLA Bijay Ranjan Singh Bariha’s daughter as its candidate for the Padampur by-election. 

The BJD had never tasted a debacle in bypolls since 2019. But the result of the recently held Dhamnagar bypoll upset its apple cart. Both the BJP and Congress announced the names of their candidates for the bypoll, but the ruling party fell behind. In order not to repeat the Dhamnagar chapter, the party put its brains together to select Barsha Singh Bariha as its candidate for the much-anticipated bypoll. 

Barsha is the elder daughter of its sitting MLA Bijay Ranjan Singh Bariha, who passed away on October 3 , necessitating the bypoll. Interestingly, Barsha is also the daughter-in-law of BJP leader Ramaranjan Baliarsingh. She has married Ramaranjan’s son Smrutisourav.

BJD had earlier finalized the name of Bijay Ranjan Singh Bariha’s wife Tilottama Singh Bariha. Later the names of the deceased leader’s two daughters and daughter-in-law (nephew’s wife) cropped up. Following his resignation, the name of Nayagarh’s Additional Collector was in circulation as a possible choice of the party. 

Meanwhile, several members of Binjal society on Sunday went to meet Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at his residence in Bhubaneswar. They clearly stated that they wouldn’t extend support to anyone outside of Bariha’s family. 

Considering all aspects, the conch party president Naveen Patnaik finally put his seal on Barsha’s name. It is being discussed in the political circles that the party by fielding Barsha has played the sympathy and women empowerment cards at once. 

On the other hand while, the BJP has fielded Pradeep Purohit , who was elected from Padampur in 2014 but lost to Bijay Ranjan Singh Bariha in 2019, the Congress has nominated ex-legislator Satya Bhushan Sahu. 

After the announcement, political analysts are of the opinion that the poll fight is going to be a fight between trust and sympathy. 

In her immediate reaction after the announcement of her name, Barsha said, “My father had been in politics since his student time. I will implement whatever I have learnt from him. I am sure the people of Padampur will have faith in me as they had in my father. I will further the flow of development launched by CM Naveen Patnaik and all that was left halfway by my father.”  

In his reaction, BJP candidate Pradeep Purohit who was scheduled to file his nomination today only to cancel putting the papers at the last moment said, “The BJP is not worried about the candidate announced by the BJD. The party will fight the election on the strength of people’s support for the party.”

Similarly, Congress candidate Satya Bhushan Sahu said they are confident of winning the election. “People are well aware of their attitudes and behaviours. So, people will vote us to power,” said Sahu. 

Politics heats up after Pradeep Purohit stayed back from filing nomination

After the meeting organised at Padampur where the senior leaders launched a broadside against the BJD government, Purohit along with Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, MP Suresh Pujari, LoP Jayanarayan Mishra and other senior leaders went to the Sub Collector’s office in a huge rally. But at the last moment, he changed his decision obeying the agitating farmers’ request and returned without filing nomination papers. 

“In our area, farmers are yet to receive the crop insurance money and input subsidy. And the State government is entirely responsible for this. Showing respect to farmers’ request, we have skipped the filing of nomination,” said Leader of Opposition Jayanarayan Mishra. 

The BJD termed the BJP’s skipping of filing nomination papers as a poll stunt. 

“Yesterday the agitating farmers organized a meeting and invited leaders of all political parties. There they requested them not to file nomination papers. If they didn’t have to file nomination, why they took a huge rally to the Sub Collector’s office? It is part of their game plan,” said BJD MLA Sushant Singh.


(Reported by Deepak Sharma)