Raja to contest Athgarh by-poll

Bhubaneswar: Ranendra Pratap Swain, who has recently got a Supreme Court verdict annuling the 2009 election of his rival, will again be the BJD candidate for the ensuing by-elections for Athagarh assembly seat on March 18. "Ranendra P Swain will again be the BJD candidate for Athagarh by-elections. I am optimistic that Swain will get the blessings of the people at Athagarh," party president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told reporters here.

Swain could not contest the 2009 assembly poll from Athagarh as his nomination paper was rejected. The former minister challanged the rejection in the Orissa High Court which declared the election of Independent MLA Ramesh Chandra Rout as null and void. Rout challenged the Orissa High Court judgement in the Supreme Court which last month upheld the earlier order. The Supreme Court also directed the Election Commission of India to conduct by-elections for Athagarh.