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Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: A day after resigning from primary membership of BJP, senior leader Ashok Panigrahi today said that he will extend support to his former party BJD in the upcoming Bijepur bypoll. Panigrahi said he has decided to do so after taking suggestion from his supporters.

However, the former MLA also said that his support to the ruling party is likely to be a temporary affair till the completion of the upcoming by-election. "Our prime aim is to ensure development in the constituency so since BJD is in power, I have decided to extend support to them after consultation with my supporters. There is no question of promoting BJP and as far as Congress is concerned, it doesn't have any existence," said Panigrahi.

Panigrahi, who lost the election after being nominated as the saffron party’s candidate for Bijepur bypoll in 2018, reiterated that he was ignored within the party and not considered as a candidate for the ensuing by-election to the seat.

It may be noted that after Bijepur bypoll loss, Panigrahi was also denied ticket for the 2019 general election as the party had nominated Sanath Gartia for the election to Bijepur Assembly constituency.

Meanwhile as the scheduled bypoll in Bijepur inches closer, BJP, BJD and Congress are intensifying their preparations for final triangular showdown on October 21.

Hitting the campaign trail for BJP, party's national vice-president Baijayant Jay Panda, Sundergarh MP Jual Oram today campaigned for the party candidate Sanath Gartia. During the occasion, Panda slammed CM Naveen Patnaik for leaving the constituency vacant after winning the seat. "Bijepur is going to polls for the third time in just 20 months. Odisha CM had promised to personally look into the development of the constituency, but he ran away," said the former parliamentarian.

"I have come here (Bijepur) to urge the public to vote for BJP. The BJD government has cheated with local residents of this constituency after winning polls. CM Naveen should have retained the constituency and worked for development of the residents of western Odisha," said Panda.

Responding to the allegations, BJD leader Prasanna Acharya said, "Naveen babu is delivering on his promises but those who are at the Centre have failed to do anything for the people."

Congress candidate Dilip Panda said, "BJD is a party of false assurances but we believe on working at grassroot level. Their roadshow was a flop show and they haven't done anything for the people of Bijepur."

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