Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal president Naveen Patnaik filed his nomination papers for the Bijepur Assembly seat in Bargarh district of western Odisha on Monday.
Mr. Patnaik, who is contesting the upcoming polls from two Assembly constituencies, had filed his nomination papers for the Hinjili seat in his home district Ganjam in south Odisha last week.
It is for the first time since he assumed charge as Chief Minister in March 2000 that Mr. Patnaik is contesting the Assembly election from any part of western Odisha. He has been winning from Hinjili since he first contested in 2000 and thereafter in 2004, 2009, and 2014.
According to political analysts, Mr. Patnaik is contesting the Assembly poll from western Odisha with a view to check the growth of the Congress and the BJP in the region, parts of which come under the backward Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput region.
Although the BJP finished third in the 2009 and 2014 Assembly polls in the State, the party has been trying hard to improve its tally since it emerged as the BJD’s main rival in the panchayat elections in 2017.
Mr. Patnaik was accompanied with several party leaders, including sitting Bijepur MLA Rita Sahu, when he filed his nomination paper at the Sub-Collector’s office at Padmapur.
In a tweet, Mr. Patnaik reminded the people of Bijepur of his words in the run-up to the bypoll held in the constituency early last year that the constituency’s development was his responsibility.
The bypoll was held following the death of Ms. Sahu’s husband Subal Sahu who had won from Bijepur as a Congress candidate in 2014.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Patnaik flagged off election campaign vans for the upcoming Assembly and Lok Sabha polls in Bhubaneswar before flying to Padmapur.
As many as 350 LED vans will tour almost every village across the State disseminating information about the party’s achievements during its 19-year governance. The vans will also inform the people about the party’s policies and programmes.