Conch decimates hand in Athgarh, Raja takes oath

Athgarh/Bhubaneswar: The Biju Janata Dal(BJD) candidate Ranendra Pratap Swain alias Raja Swain today won back the Athgarh assembly seat in Cuttack district by defeating his nearest Congress rival Suresh Mohapatra by a huge margin of over 47,000 votes. Later in the day, Raja Swain even took oath as a member of the assembly.

BJD candidate Ranendra Pratap Swain maintained constant lead over his rival Suresh Mohapatra right from the first round of counting of votes. Counting of votes began at eight in the morning. Raja Swain polled a total of 87,604 votes while the Congress nominee Suresh Mohapatra failed to put up any fight. Suresh Mohapatra polled 40,214 votes which was exactly 47,390 less than Raja Swain`s. Raja Swain maintained constant edge over Suresh Mohapatra in all the 15 round of counting of votes.

The BJP candidate Bikram Dash finished at the third spot and was no where in the picture. Bikram Dash got only 2,377 votes and even lost his deposit. Soon after announcement of the election result, thousands of supporters of Raja Swain and BJD workers started celebrating victory in grand style. The supporters burst crackers, danced on the streets beating drums and distributed sweets. Later in the day, Ranendra Pratap Swain reached the assembly to take oath as an MLA. The Speaker Pradip Amat administered the oath to Ranendra Pratap in his official chamber in the assembly.

In 2009, Raja Swain could not contest the election as his nomination papers were rejected for non-submission of the original copy of the party ticket. Ramesh Rout won the election as an independent candidate backed by the BJD. Ranendra Pratap petitioned the High Court on the rejection of his nomination papers. First the Odisha High Court and then the apex court of the country pronounced the election of Ramesh Rout as null and void necessitating the by-election. The by-election was held on March 18.