Bhubaneswar: Odisha’s ruling BJD candidate Subhas Gond on Sunday won the by-poll to the Umerkote assembly constituency in Maoist-affected Nabarangpur district defeating his nearest BJP candidate by 21,061 votes.

Three candidates namely BJP’s Dharmu Gond, Congress’s Jatindranath Gond and ruling BJD’s Subash Gond, were in the fray for the Nov 30 by-election.

In the triangular contest, ruling BJD candidate bagged a total of 54,713 votes. While BJP candidate Dharmu Gond bagged 33, 652 votes and was pushed to the second position, Congress candidate Jatindranath Gond bagged 32, 877 votes and was pushed to the third position.

With this victory, ruling BJD retained the seat for which by-election was necessitated after Biju Janana Dal (BJD) member, Jagabandhu Majhi was killed on September 24.

An estimated 73.40 % of people had turned out to cast their votes.  A total of 1 lakh 21 thousand 241 people had casted their vote, of which 45.14 % went in favor of BJD while 27.75 and 27.11 % of votes went in favor of BJP and Congress respectively.

BJD candidate Subash Gond received 36,469 votes from Raighar block, 12, 410 votes from Umerkote block and 5, 227 votes from Umerkote NAC. BJP Candidate Dharmu Gond received 22,918 votes from Raighar block, 6,599 votes from Umerkote block and 3, 929 votes from Umerkote NAC. Congress candidate Jatindranath Gond received 19,872 votes from Raighar block, 9675 votes from Umerkote block and 4,103 votes from Umerkote NAC.

The vote counting began on Sunday at 08:00 am in the morning in 14 rounds. In each round votes were counted from 12 EVM machines. In the first round BJD candidate Subash Gond had got 2925 votes whereas BJP and Congress had got 2346 and 2693 votes respectively. In the second round BJD got 3471votes where as BJP and Congress got 2503 and 2332 votes respectively. In the third round BJD had 5335 votes where as BJP and Congress got 2495 and 2489 votes respectively. In the fourth round BJD got 3688 votes where as BJP and Congress got 1943 and 1828 votes respectively. In the fifth round BJD got 3481 votes where as BJP and Congress got 2811 and 1399 votes respectively. In the sixth round BJD got 4003 votes where as BJP and Congress got 2589and 2673 votes respectively. In the seventh round BJD got 2903 votes where as BJP and Congress got 2449 and 2192 votes respectively.

In the eighth round BJD got 4639 votes where as BJP and Congress got 3135 and 1816 votes respectively. In the eighth round BJD got 4639 votes where as BJP and Congress got 3135 and 1816 votes respectively. In the ninth round BJD got 5215 votes where as BJP and Congress got 2022 and 1950 votes respectively. In the tenth round BJD got 3946 votes where as BJP and Congress got 1811 and 2878 votes respectively. In the eleventh round BJD got 5186 votes where as BJP and Congress got 2565 and 3371 votes respectively. In the twelfth round BJD got 3616 votes where as BJP and Congress got 2272 and 2900 votes respectively. In the thirteenth round BJD got 4257 votes where as BJP and Congress got 3260 and 3167 votes respectively. In the last round BJD got 1988 votes where as BJP and Congress got 1381 and 1175 votes respectively.

The by-poll result brought joy and celebrations among ruling BJD leaders and workers at many places. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, congratulated the workers, leaders and ministers of BJD. He thanked the dwellers of Umerkote for their support.

The BJP, on the other hand, said the ruling party rigged the results by misutilisation of government machinery and inducement.

“From the day one when we were told that electronic voting machines (EVMs) would be used in Umerkote elections, we were sure that BJD will win the poll. You cannot expect neutral elections when EVMs placed
under the government custody are used in the poll,” said BJP State Vice President Ashok Sahu.

Pradesh Congress President Niranjan Patnaik attributed the BJD’s victory to misuse of government machinery, manipulation and use of money and muscle power.

BJP leader Biswabhusan Harichandan claimed that the outcome of the by polls is due to the tampering of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM). He alleged that the by poll was not carried out neatly . Moreover BJD had taken all possible steps to illegally gain votes in their favor.