Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar/Bargarh: After much speculations, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) on Sunday named Pranay Sahu, Gaisilat block Vice-Chairman as the party's candidate for the upcoming Bijepur Assembly by-poll scheduled for February 24.

Earlier, the name of former MLA Ripunath Seth was also doing rounds while the top Congress leadership cleared Pranay Sahu's name today.

With this, the stage is now set for a triangular fight between three political parties--BJD, BJP and the Congress.

The bypoll is going to be a litmus test for the three major political parties as it will be the first assembly by-election that will be held after 2014, when both Lok Sabha and assembly polls were held simultaneously in the State.

" I am grateful to party leadership for choosing me as candidate. During past 40 years, there has been no representation in politics from farming community in the area," said Sahu.

Sahu further stated that he will work for the interest of farmers if he wins the election.

"As our organisation at ground is strong in Bijepur, Congress will continue to retain the Assembly seat that had earlier fallen vacant after the death of Subal Sahu," Sahu added.

Pranay Sahu's name was earlier shortlisted along with Ripunath Seth by two Committees formed by the Congress high command.

While a committee led by senior leader Naba Das committee had submitted a report to PCC after undertaking a Bijepur visit, the other six-member committee headed by former Chief Minister Hemananda Biswal submitted a report to the AICC regarding probable candidates for the bypoll.

Though names of former legislator Ripunath Seth and Gaisilat block vice-chairman Pranay Sahu were doing rounds,  the top leadership picked the latter.

BJD has roped in Rita Sahu, the wife of late Subal Sahu as its candidate while Ashok Panigrahi is BJP's candidate.

BJD candidate Rita Sahu and Pranaya Sahu of Congress will file their  nomination papers on February 5 and 6 respectively, sources said.