In what was seen as the contest of spokespersons, BJP’s Sambit Patra lost a close fight against BJD MP Pinaki Mishra in Puri Lok Sabha seat. In a see-saw battle, spokesperson and sitting BJD MP Mishra finally emerged as a winner by a margin of 11,714 votes. While Misra secured 5,37,782 votes, BJP’s national spokesperson Sambit Patra was trailing behind with 524504 votes. Congress’ spokesperson Satya Prakash Naik came in third.
With eight Lok Sabha seats in its kitty in Odisha, the BJP has improved its performance from the 2014 polls, when it had won a single seat in the state in 2014.
Earlier there was speculation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be fielded from Puri. “I am fortunate that a seat for the PM, as discussed by the media, has come to me. People here see Sambit Patra as a representative of Modi… that he can approach the PM directly with their problems,” Patra had said while campaigning.
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Patra’s campaign was in the news after he was seen eating on banana leaves, riding atop trucks and hugging strangers, in the sweltering heat, a saffron gamchcha on his shoulders.
The winners from BJP are national secretary Suresh Pujari from Bargah seat, former bureaucrat Aparajita Sarangi from Bhubaneswar, Union Minister Jual Oram from Sundargarh, Sangeeta Kumari Singh Deo from Bolangir, Basanta Kumar Panda from Kalahandi, and Bishweshwar Tudu from Mayurbhanj seat and Pratap Chandra Sarangi from Balasore. BJD turncoat Baijayant Jay Panda, who is now BJP’s vice-president faced defeat at the hands of Anubhav Mohanty in Odisha’s Kendrapara.
In 2014, Mishra had won from Puri with a little over 50% of the votes, with the Congress getting around 25% and BJP 21%.
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