The BJP on Monday named party's state vice-president Pitamber Acharya as its candidate against Naveen Patnaik at Hinjili but is yet to name its contestant at Bijepur, where the Odisha chief minister filed his second nomination during the day.
Acharya, a senior advocate of Orissa High Court, will make his debut in electoral politics at Hinjili, where polls will be held along with Bijepur in the second phase on April 18.
He is the BJP spokesman and was assigned the responsibility of the party's vice-president barely two days ago.
I am very happy that I have filed the nomination for Bijepur constituency because of the love and affection of the people of this area. Development of Bijepur would be first my priority, Patnaik said after filing his nomination papers for Bijepur seat.
Patnaik also addressed a public meeting before going to file his nomination paper at the Padampur sub-collector's office.
The chief minister had announced his decision to contest the assembly election from Bijepur constituency under Bargarh Lok Sabha seat too after people from western region of the state had requested him to do so.
Though Patnaik has been in state politics since over two-decades, this is for the first time he has filed nomination in more than one assembly seat in the state.
Patnaik, who is also the BJD chief, had been elected to the assembly four times in a row from Hinjili under Aska Lok Sabha seat in 2000, 2004, 2009 and 2014.
Bijepur's sitting MLA Rita Sahu, minister Snehangini Chhuria and other party leaders accompanied Patnaik when he filed his nomination for Bijepur seat at the office of the returning officer of Padampur.
Acharya confirmed that he will contest from Hinjili assembly seat and said he would contest against the chief minister to win the polls.
Acharya's name as party candidate from Hinjili was announced in a separate press release issued by the BJP's central office.
BJP sources said Acharya was interested to contest from Cuttack Lok Sabha seat. But the party fielded former Odisha DGP Prakash Mishra in Cuttack and decided to pit him(Acharya) against the chief minister, sources said.
Patnaik had filed his nomination papers for Hinjili at Chhatrapur in Ganjam district on March 20.
In 2014 he had polled 89,267 votes against his nearest Congress rival Sibram Patra's 12,681 votes. BJP candidate Debananda Mohapatra was in the third place by securing only 12,283 votes in 2014 polls.
Elections to 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha and 147 assembly seats in the state where simultaneous polls would be held in four phases from April 11.
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