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BJP fields BJD turncoat from Cuttack LS seat

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Bhubaneswar, Mar 30 (PTI) The BJP on Saturday nominated Bhartruhari Mahtab from the Cuttack Lok Sabha seat from where he was elected on a BJD ticket five years ago but joined the saffron camp this month.

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The saffron party also fielded Rabindra Narayan Behera, a former director of the National Informatics Centre, from Jajpur, a reserved seat for scheduled caste, while Sukanta Kumar Panigrahi, associated with the Sangh Parivar for a long time, got a BJP ticket for the Kandhamal Lok Sabha constituency.

“We are expecting a very good result in Odisha. A wave of change is seen in the state in favour of the BJP. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s good work will be instrumental for the victory of our candidates in the state,” Mahtab said after getting the BJP ticket.

Mahtab, a six-time MP, had on March 22 resigned from the BJD and joined the BJP on Thursday.

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Panigrahi has been fielded from Kandhamal after Kharabela Swain, the BJP's candidate in 2019, refused to contest from the same seat. Swain was interested in the Balasore Lok Sabha constituency. Five years ago, Swain had lost to BJD’s Achyuta Samanta by a margin of 1,49,216 votes.

Panigrahi had, in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, contested from Kandhamal seat but finished third. This time, he will take on BJD’s sitting MP Achyuta Samanta.

In Jajpur, the saffron camp reposed faith in Behera after its nominee for the last two Lok Sabha elections, Amiya Kanta Mallick, failed to beat the BJD.

However, Mallick was able to increase the party’s vote share from 15.37 per cent in 2014 to 40.5 per cent in 2019. He was reportedly not keen on the parliamentary seat this time and instead wanted to contest from the Binjharpur assembly seat.

The BJP had earlier announced candidates for 18 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha. PTI AAM BDC

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