Image Source : PTI Former Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik with BJP MLA Laxman Bag

BJD president and former Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday (June 18) greeted newly elected first-time BJP MLA Laxman Bag, who defeated him in the Assembly elections from the Kantabanji seat in Bolangir district, and spoke to him sportingly. The occurrence came when Patnaik, who is widely known for his calm demeanour, was walking through the House after taking oath as a member of the Assembly. He came face-to-face with Bag who stood up from his seat and folded his hands.

“How are you?” Bag inquired with folded hands.

As the BJP MLA introduced himself, Patnaik sportinly responded, “Oh, you defeated me”, and congratulated the first-time legislator.

The entire house including Chief Minister Mohan Charan Majhi and his deputies— KV Singh Deo and Pravati Parida, also stood up from their seats to greet Patnaik in the Assembly, where he was an undisputed leader for 24 years.

Odisha Assembly Elections

The narrative of Patnaik’s defeat was twofold. Not only had he lost his chief minister’s chair, held firmly since 2000, but he also faced an unexpected defeat in Kantabanji, which he contested alongside his traditional Hinjili assembly seat.

In Hinjili, Patnaik clung to victory by a slender margin of 4,636 votes.

BJP’s Bag amassed 90,876 votes against Patnaik’s 74,532, securing the seat by 16,334 votes. Bag, 48, confessed his initial doubts about toppling a political titan like Patnaik. “The voters were silent throughout the campaign, but they voted for me,” he recounted, still grappling with the magnitude of his victory.

(With PTI inputs)

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