Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram on Friday said the BJP has lost the bypoll in Bijepur Assembly segment, but is not out of the race in Odisha.

"We have been defeated in the bypolls, but we're not out of the race," Oram told reporters while celebrating Holi with his supporters here.

On Wednesday, the Biju Janata Dal candidate Rita Sahu defeated her nearest rival, Ashok Panigrahi of the BJP, by 41,933 votes in the bypoll. Sahu had polled 1,02,871 votes against the 60,938 secured by Panigrahi.

Oram, who had intensively campaigned for party candidate Panigrahi, said the BJP's defeat has not affected the party's fighting spirit.

Stating that the BJP will continue its fight against the BJD government in Odisha, Oram said, "The BJP had worked to install a BJD-BJP alliance government in Odisha in 2000. In future, the same BJP will dislodge the Naveen Patnaik government."

Union Ministers Santosh Gangwar, Swadhi Niranjana, Smriti Irani, Ramkripal Yadav, Dharmendra Pradhan and Jual Oram along with a number of Odia film stars had campaigned for the BJP candidate.