BJD candidate Rita Sahu on Thursday won the by-poll to the Bijepur Assembly constituency in Odisha by a margin of 97,990 votes, which is the highest ever margin in the history of the state’s Assembly polls.

Sahu registered her victory over her nearest rival Sanat Gartia of the BJP, an election official said.

While Sahu polled 1,35,957 votes, Gartia secured 37,967 votes.

Sahu has secured over 73 per cent of the total polled votes while Gartia has garnered around 20 per cent of it.

Congress candidate Dilip Kumar Panda secured the third position by polling 5,876 votes.

With Sahu’s victory, the BJD’s strength in the state’s 147-member Assembly has increased to 113.

“Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik congratulated Rita Sahu for her huge historic win, breaking all records in Odisha’s electoral history,” the CMO said.

Sahu’s victory margin is much higher than Patnaik’s 57,122 margin, which he registered in the elections held earlier this year.

The by-election to the politically-sensitive seat in Bargarh district was necessitated after Patnaik, who had won from two seats in the Assembly polls, resigned from Bijepur and retained his home-turf Hinjili in Ganjam district.

In the Assembly polls held earlier this year, Soumya Ranjan Patnaik of the BJD had won by a margin of 81,430 votes from Khandapada seat, which was the highest till Sahu’s victory.

Following the BJD’s win, celebrations erupted at its party offices in Bhubaneswar and Bargarh.