Bhubaneswar: The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) Friday announced that Rita Sahu would be its candidate for the forthcoming by-poll to Bijepur assembly costitutency.

Announcing the name of Sahu, the BJD president and chief minister Naveen Patnaik said, ” “Rita Sahu will be the BJD candidate for Bijepur bypoll. I am indebted to the people of Bijepur for the blessings they have showered on me. Bijepur would continue to be a focus area for welfare and development.”

Rita Sahu, wife of late Congress MLA Subal Sahu, was elected as MLA of Bijepur on BJD ticket in February last year following death of her husband in August 2017. She had emerged victorious with a margin of 41,933 votes over her nearest rival and BJP candidate Ashok Panigrahi.

In the 2019 election, Naveen Patnaik had successfully contested from Bijepur Assembly seat in Bargarh district along with his Hinjili constituency in Ganjam district. He, however, retained his Hinjili seat leaving Bijepur ensuing a by-poll for the constituency.

While the Congress has decided to field Dillip Kumar Panda as its candidate in Bijepur, the BJP is yet to announce the name of its candidate.