Bhubaneswar: BJD’s Rita Sahu won the Bijepur Assembly by-poll by a huge margin of 97,990 votes on Thursday. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik spoke to Rita over phone and congratulated her for her historic win.

Rita was polled more votes than what the Chief Minister had polled from the seat in April. Patnaik had polled 1,10,166 votes while Rita was polled was 1,35,957.

BJP’s Sanat Gartia was polled 37,967 votes. Dilip Panda of Congress managed bag a mere 5,876 votes.

Of total 24 service votes, 16 were found valid. BJD and BJP got seven each while Congress got two service votes.

Counting of votes for Bijepur Assembly by-election began at 8 am amid tight security. A voter turnout of 78.96% was recorded in the by-poll for Bijepur Assembly segment held on Monday.

It was the third polling in two years to elect an MLA from Bijepur. The politically- sensitive segment had witnessed a by-poll in February 2018 necessitated due to death of then sitting MLA Subal Sahu in August 2017 followed by the Assembly election in April this year.

The fresh bypoll was necessitated after BJD president and Chief Minister Patnaik vacated the seat. Patnaik, who was elected from Bijepur and Hinjili, has retained the latter, from where he has been winning since 2000.