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The Orissa High Court Wednesday ordered a fresh poll in the state’s Athgarh assembly constituency, a lawyer said.

Justice R.N Biswal passed the order at Cuttack, some 26 km from here, in response to a petition by senior ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader and former state minister Ranendra Pratap Swain, challenging the rejection of his nomination papers by a returning officer.

Swain had filed nomination papers as a BJD candidate seeking election to the state assembly from the Athgarh constituency in Cuttack district in 2009.

His petition, filed in the high court in July 2009, alleged that the returning officer at Athgarh illegally cancelled his nomination papers and he could not contest the election.

“The Orissa High Court set aside the order of the returning officer. It ordered a re-poll in view of the casual vacancy that arose because of the voidable election of Ramesh Rout, an independent candidate,” Swain’s lawyer Pitambar Acharya said.

Swain, who was elected to the state assembly from the same constituency for four consecutive terms from 1990 to 2009, said: “It was a historical judgment. The court has given justice to me.”

Swain was state science and technology minister 2000-2002, sports and youth service minister 2000-2004 and housing minister 2002-2004.

Rout, who had won the election as an independent with the support of the BJD, said he will move the Supreme Court against the judgment.

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