Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Biju Janata Dal's (BJD) Rita Sahu on Tuesday took oath as MLA from Bijepur Assembly Constituency today after a thumping victory in the by-election.

Rita, who won the Bijepur bypoll on February 28 by defeating her nearest BJP contender Ashok Panigrahi by 41,933 votes, was administered oath of office and secrecy by Odisha Assembly Speaker Pradip Amat.

The bypoll was necessitated by the death of three-time Congress MLA & Rita's husband Subal Sahu on August 22 last year.

Speaking to media, Rita said, "I am happy to be sworn in as the MLA of Bijepur. I thank the Speaker, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and the people of Bijepur for their faith in me. I will take up all those issues plaguing Bijepur and work for the betterment of people."

Development of the people of Bijepur is my first priority, she added.

BJD's MLA count has now increased to 119. The ruling party had won 117 seats out of 147 assembly constituencies in the state in 2014 elections. Prior to Rita Sahu's election, independent MLA from Satyabadi in Puri, Umakanta Samantray had joined BJD.

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