Bhubaneswar: The battle-lines have been drawn for the Bijepur assembly by-election in Odisa with the candidates of the three prominent political parties in the State filed their nomination papers on Monday.

The ruling BJD’s Rita Sahu, BJP’s Sanath Gartia and Congress Dilip Panda filed their nominations with the Padampur sub-collector who is the returning officers for the by-elections. Besides the three, four more candidates including two independents have filed their nominations.

While Sahu filed her papers accompanied by former minister and party MLA Snehagini Churia, Gartia filed his papers with State president Basanta Panda by his side. The Congress candidate Panda was accompanied by former MP Pradeep Majhi, Pradeep Devta and Samarendra Mishra.

Bijepur by-election is going to witness a fierce battle between the BJD and BJP as it would decide who is going to rule the forthcoming urban elections. The Congress too is making a pitch as its revival depends on the outcome of the by-election.

In 2017 Zilla Parisad elections, the BJP had garnered 87,322 votes against BJD’s 47,607 and Congress’ 27,091 votes in the constituency. However, in the 2018 by-election, the BJD’s Rita Sahu, widow of sitting Congress MLA Subal Sahu, mopped up 1,02,871 votes against BJP’s Ashok Panigrahi’s 60,939 and Congress’ 10274 votes. Again in 2019 election, chief minister Naveen Patnaik polled 1,10,604 votes against BJP’s Sanath Gadtia 53,481 and Congress’ 14,344 votes.

Meanwhile, the poll warriors of BJD have already taken positions in the Bijepur. The party has entrusted finance minister Niranjan Pujhari, Sushant Singh, former MP Kalikesh Naryan Singhdeo and former minister Sanjya Das Burma to supervise the electioneering in the constituency. Similarly, the Congress has also sent a team comprising of MLA Santosh Singh Saluja and Tara Prasad Bahinipati. The BJP is yet to announce its team for the Bijepur election.