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Pradeep Singh

Bhubaneswar: With barely a month left for the high voltage Bijepur bypoll, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Niranjan Patnaik today sought financial assistance from party leaders and other affluent supporters to meet the expenditure of the by-election.

All the party funds have been spent during the recently-concluded general elections and now Congress needs the help of its leaders and supporters, said Patnaik. Meanwhile, party president Sonia Gandhi has named Dilip Panda, the vice-president of party's Bargarh unit, as the candidate for the bypoll.

At a time when the BJP seems to be on a strategy to avenge the '2018 Bijepur bypoll loss' and a confident BJD seems to be all set to checkmate its opponents on the Bijepur checkered board, the statement of the OPCC chief is seen as a sign of surrender before the battle of the ballot.

On the other hand, the BJD has announced its in-charges for the three blocks & 2 NACs of the Assembly constituency. Kalikesh Singh Deo, Naba Das and Ranendra Swain will take care of party organisation in Gaisilet block while Sushant Singh, Arun Swain, Dibya Sankar Mishra and Kishore Mohanty have been bestowed with the responsibility of Bijepur block. Rohit Pujari and Puspendra Singh Deo will look after the Bijepur NAC.

Similarly, Niranjan Pujari, Sanjay Das Burma and Snehangini Churia will look into the party's organisation in Barpali block. Debesh Acharya and Atanu Sabyasachi have been given the responsibility of Barpali NAC. However, it is yet to announce the name of party candidate for the by-election, but it is believed that former MLA Rita Sahu will again be the BJD candidate for the Assembly seat.

"Whoever will be the BJD candidate for the Bijepur by-election will file the nomination papers on September 30 in Padampur," said senior BJD leader and MP Prasanna Acharya without giving any hint as to who will be the candidate.

The saffron party has also said that it will announce the name of the party candidate for the bypoll in the next couple of days. On the other hand, the BJP is likely to make the issue of repeated elections in Bijepur, farmer suicides and unemployment as its poll plank to take on the BJD.

"Discussions on the selection of the party candidate for the by-election have already begun. Tomorrow, maybe, we will announce the name of the candidate," said BJP's Bargarh MP Suresh Pujari.

The bypoll for Bijepur Assembly seat was necessitated after CM Naveen Patnaik vacated the seat while retaining the Hinjili seat.

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