Mrunal Manmay Dash

As the Congress party has reduced itself to its name in the recently concluded Padampur bypoll, the debate on who took away its pocket votes continues to heat up the political corridors of Odisha. 

BJP said, all the Congress votes went to the BJD and they had an arrangement between them.

Speaking to reporters, the Leader of Opposition, Jayanarayan Mishra said, “The Congress party has been reduced to just its name. It is on the brink of losing its existence.”

Dissecting the bypoll results, Mishra said, “Money played a decisive role in the election. The BJD was able to take the Congress votes completely. They traded votes and only Congress and BJD can tell how they traded. The BJP might have left behind in the trade.”

Not only the BJP, even the Congress party seemed to have corroborated the allegations of vote trade. Expressing his anguish, senior Congress leader and Jeypore MLA, Tara Prasad Bahinipati said, “I saw a lot of people making comments about Congress trading votes with the BJD. And I am really sad to hear that. The PCC President should review the results and call a meeting. I do not know the person who traded our votes, but the fact is our votes went to the BJD and we lost the election.”

And as far as the personal slurs at Barsha Bariha is concerned, Mishra asked, “BJP did not say anything wrong. Is Barsha not the daughter-in-law of Kanas in Puri. Did we say anything about her character?”

However, the BJD rubbished the reports of trade off between the BJD and Congress. Denying the allegations, Senior BJD leader, Debi Prasad Mishra said, “Naveen Patnaik is the biggest and most popular leader in Odisha. And the allegations of buying Congress votes is not true. The Opposition had fallen behind since the counting of round 1 till the end, even in the Congress-dominated areas.”

The BJD registered a thumping victory in the crucial by-election battle. BJD candidate Barsha Singh Bariha defeated BJP’s Pradip Purohit with a margin of over 42,000 votes.

Barsha secured 1,20, 807 votes. BJP’s Pradip Purohit secured 78,128 votes in his favour. Congress candidate Satya Bhusan Sahu won a total of 3594 votes in the crucial Padampur by-election.