The BJP Monday named the party's state vice-president Pitambar Acharya as its candidate against ruling BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is seeking re-election from Hinjili assembly seat in Odisha's Ganjam district, party sources said.
This will be the first time that Mr Acharya will fight the assembly polls though he has been in politics since his student days and was the president of the students union in Bhubhaneswar's BJB College in the 90s.
Mr Acharya, a senior advocate of Orissa High Court, is also the BJP's spokesman. He was assigned the responsibility of the party's vice-president two days ago.
The BJP is yet to name its candidate against Mr Patnaik in Bijepur assembly seat from where the BJD president will also contest from.
Confirming that he will contest from Hinjili assembly seat, Mr Acharya said he would contest against the chief minister to win the polls.
BJP sources said Mr 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.
Mr Acharya's name as party candidate from Hinjili was announced in a separate press release issued by the BJP's central office.
Mr Patnaik, who is seeking re-election for the fifth consecutive time, had filed his nomination papers for Hinjili at Chhatrapur in Ganjam district on March 20.
Polling in the seat, which falls under Aska Lok Sabha seat, will be held in the second phase on April 18.
Mr Patnaik has been elected to the assembly four times in a row from Hinjili since 2000. 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.
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