Former Odisha MP Kharabela Swain expresses willingness to contest from Balasore

Bhubaneswar: Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former MP Kharabela Swain has expressed his willingness to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from Balasore constituency in Odisha.

Swain had been elected to the Lok Sabha from Balasore on BJP tickets thrice in the past. However, the party had fielded Pratap Chandra Sarangi from the seat in 2019. Sarangi got elected to the Lower House of the Parliament by defeating Biju Janata Dal (BJD) candidate Rabindra Kumar Jena.

On the other hand, Swain had unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha polls from Kandhamal seat in 2019.

“I will not fight the 2024 Lok Sabha polls from Kandhamal. I have informed this to BJP leadership. I am interested to contest the election from Balasore. I had fought the election from Balasore Lok Sabha seat five times in the past and got elected thrice,” said Swain, a former Indian Railway Service (IRS) officer.

The former MP claimed that he was asked by the BJP leadership to fight the 2019 polls from Kandhamal at the eleventh hour.

“The party gave me ticket from Kandhamal at the last moment. I had filed my nomination on the last day. I had no connection with Kandhamal people. Despite this, I had secured more than 3 lakh votes,” he said.

The former MP further said the BJP leadership will take a call on party’s candidate for Balasore in 2024 polls. “The party had given ticket to Sarangi in last Parliamentary polls and he got elected. He had also served as a Union Minister. If the party leadership thinks that Sarangi would win the 2024 polls from Balasore, then they can give him ticket again,” Swain added.

Sarangi, however, said he had never urged the party to field him from any constituency. “The BJP leadership will take decision regarding party’s candidate for Balasore Lok Sabha seat. I will abide by the decision of the party. I have no issue at all if the party decides to give the ticket to Swain,” he added.

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