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Cong, BJP heavyweights bite the dust in Orissa

May 17, 2009 17:13 IST

As the ruling Biju Janata Dal swept the Lok Sabha and assembly polls in Orissa with a landslide victory, many heavyweights belonging to the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party were made to bite the dust.

Even the lone Union minister from the state and Congress leader Chandrasekhar Sahu failed to retain the Berhampur seat, where he was defeated by cine-star Sidhanta Mohapatra of the BJD, a newcomer.

The BJD wave also swept away Congress stalwart and nine-time Member of Parliament Giridhar Gamang's hope as he was defeated in his home turf Koraput by his old political opponent Jayaram Pangi of the BJD.

Congress' poll debacle also saw the humiliating defeat of its deputy leader in assembly Narasingh Mishra in Balangir Lok Sabha constituency, at the hands of BJD's Kalikesh Singhdeo.

A large number of BJP heavyweights were also defeated in the electoral battle as the saffron party, which had won seven Lok Sabha and 32 assembly seats in the 2004 polls in alliance with the BJD, failed to win a single Lok Sabha seat and secure double figure in the assembly.

BJP state president Suresh Kumar Pujari lost the Brajarajnagar assembly seat for a third time in a row as Congress candidate Anup Sai scored a hattrick from the seat. Similarly, BJP national secretary and MP Dharamendra Pradhan lost the Pallahada assembly seat.

Senior BJP leader Biswabhusan Harichandan, who happened to be an influential minister in the Naveen Patnaik-led coalition government, failed to win the prestigious Bhubaneswar Central seat. BJP's national vice-president and former Union minister Jual Oram, who represented Sundargarh tribal Lok Sabha seat for the last three elections, was defeated by Congress stalwart and former chief minister Hemananda Biswal by a narrow margin of 11,624 votes.

The party's veteran Bikram Kishori Deo and Sangita Singdeo Kharavaela Swain, who had represented the state in the Lok Sabha for three terms, faced defeat this time.

Former BJP state president Bimbadhar Kuar, who played a key role in the formation of the party in Orissa and the spread of its influence, lost the election from his traditional Bhatli assembly constituency. Samir Dey, who had won the prestigious Cuttack seat in 1995, lost to the ruling BJD.

Another prominent loser was former BJP minister Manmohan Samal, Congress stalwarts including leader of opposition Ulaka Ramachandra (Rayagada), former ministers Niranjan Patnaik (Ghasipura) and Ramakrushna Patnaik (Polasara) and former state unit chief Jayadev Jena (Anandpur).

Despite the strong BJD wave, assembly speaker Kishore Mohanty and ministers Sanatan Bisi and Duryadhon Majhi failed to taste victory this time.

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