The ruling Biju Janata Party on Tuesday named Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik among 40 star campaigners for the May 31 by-election in the Brajrajnagar assembly constituency in Jharsuguda district. The regional party made the announcement after inviting opposition Congress and BJP’s neighbor Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and his former chief minister Raman Singh to campaign for their party’s candidates in the Brajrajnagar assembly constituency respectively. Patnaik, who did not campaign in the previous by-elections in Pipili, Tirtol and Balasore assembly constituencies, may run this time, party sources said.
The Brajrajnagar assembly seat could be a trilateral battle between BJD’s Alaka Mohanty, former BJP MLA Radharani Panda and Congress’ Kishore Patel. In addition to Patnaik, BJD’s list of star promoters also includes two Oriya film stars Arindam Roy and Akash Das Nayak.
Other BJD star campaigners are Orissa Minister Niranjan Pujari, Pratap Jena, Arun Kumar Sahu, Sameer Ranjan Das, Nab Kishore Das, Susanta Singh, Tukuni Sahu, DS Mishra and Cuttack Mayor Subhash Singh Ministers – Piyush Goel, Dharmendra Pradhan, Vaishnava and Visvesvara Tudu.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and Kanhaiya Kumar will be campaigning for Congress candidate Kishore Patel.
A total of 2,14,261 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in the by-elections, which were required on December 30 last year due to the death of BJD’s Brajrajnagar MLA Kishore Mohanty. The votes will be counted on June 3.