Odisha bypoll: BJP’s Suryabanshi Suraj defeats BJD to retain Dhamnagar seat

by Dikhyaa Mohanty
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Suryabanshi Suraj of the BJP defeated Abanti Das of the incumbent BJD in the Dhamnagar assembly byelection in Odisha by a margin of 9,881 votes on Sunday. In the Bhadrak district of Odisha, Suraj received 80,351 votes, while Das received 70,470 votes in the Dhamnagar byelection.

Baba Harekrushna Sethi, a candidate for Congress, received only 3,561 votes. A three-tier security setup is in place for the counting process, according to an election official. At the counting center are party agents, a central supervisor, an assistant supervisor, and a micro-observer. Following the passing of BJP MLA Bishnu Charan Sethi in September, the Dhamnagar seat became vacant.

At least 68.98% of the 2,38,417 voters in the district cast ballots at Dhamnagar’s 252 polling places on Election Day, November 3. The late MLA’s son, Suraj, previously stated, “I am running for office from Dhamnagar as a native who understands about the land and people here.”

On Friday and Saturday, some violence was reported in Dhamnagar. According to a police official, there were three casualties in the fighting in Tihidi block, including a lady, and one home was set on fire. On Friday night in Talagopabindha hamlet, a father-daughter pair was beaten with iron rods by claimed followers of a political party. According to news agency PTI, they have been admitted to the hospital at the heart of the Bhadrak district.

In a another incident, a man alleged that on Saturday morning, members of a competing party attacked him. A family in Kharapada gram panchayat claimed that party members set fire to their thatched home “for political purposes” The chief electoral officer (CEO) of Odisha, SK Lohani, however, stated on Saturday that he was unaware of any post-election violence and will speak with Bhadrak SP to learn more.

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