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Odisha: Women candidates to lock horns in politically significant Aska Lok Sabha seat

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Berhampur (Odisha), Mar 29 (PTI) The ruling BJD has sprung a surprise by fielding a political greenhorn in the politically significant Aska Lok Sabha seat, which was represented by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik as well as his father Biju Patnaik.

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The BJD has nominated 33-year-old Ranjita Sahu, the daughter of former chairperson of Kodala Notified Area Council Hara Prasad Sahu, for the seat.

A postgraduate in Economics, Sahu is a social activist who has formed an organisation 'Kodala Youth Forum' to undertake social work in Kodala, Polasara and Kabisurya Nagar areas.

"I thank the chief minister for nominating me from the Aska Lok Sabha constituency," Ranjita Sahu said.

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Although it is the first time she is contesting elections, Ranjita Sahu is no stranger to politics.

"I come from a political family. My father (Hara Prasad Sahu) and mother (Sunita Prabha Sahu) were elected as chairpersons of Kodala NAC," she said.

BJD's Ganjam district president R Ch Chaupatnaik said, "She is a young and educated woman. She also comes from a political family. We thank the CM for selecting the right candidate for the Aska constituency." By fielding Ranjita, the CM has once again shown his efforts towards political empowerment of women, said Sanghamitra Dalei, Mayor of Berhampur Municipal Corporation.

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Ranjita Sahi will contest against BJP's Anita Priyadarshini, the daughter of former minister Rama Krushna Patnaik and Kumudini Patnaik, who was a former MP of Aska.

Anita Priyadarshini had in 2019 unsuccessfully contested from the Aska on a BJP ticket.

In the 2019 elections, BJD had surprised everyone by fielding 70-year-old Pramila Bisoi, a leader of a women self-help group as its candidate from Aska.

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She defeated Anita Priyadarshini by a margin of over 2.04 lakh votes.

The party however dropped her this time.

Former chief minister Biju Patnaik had represented the seat in 1996 polls, while his son and present CM Naveen Patnaik was elected from the constituency in 1997 (by-election) and 1998.

The Congress was yet to announce its candidate for the seat. PTI COR AAM AAM ACD

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