Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

All the major political parties in Odisha are almost battle-ready while the administration has started its preparations in full swing for the first phase of polling in the state scheduled to be held on May 13.

Filing of nomination papers has concluded for 28 Assembly segments under four Lok Sabha constituencies where the first phase of polling will take place. A total of 266 candidates have filed their nominations for the 28 Assembly seats. Candidates can withdraw their nominations till April 29. After the withdrawal of nomination papers, the total number of candidates for the first phase of the election could actually be revealed.

As per the announcement of the Election Commission of India (ECI), voting in Odisha will be held in four phases. Voters in the State will cast their votes on four dates, viz, May 13, May 20, May 25 and June 1. The counting of the votes will take place on June 4. The term of the current assembly elected in 2019 will expire on June 2, 2024.

Though campaigning has been intensified in most parts of the State for the upcoming elections, major political parties - BJD, BJP and Congress are yet to announce candidates for several important Assembly seats across the State.

As per many political experts, the parties have not yet announced the names of some of their candidates as they are playing a wait-and-watch game to score strategic supremacy over others.

While the ruling BJD is yet to announce the names of six candidates for different Assembly seats, the Opposition BJP is yet to name candidates for as many as 15 seats. On the other hand, Congress is yet to announce the names of its candidates in nine Assembly and two Lok Sabha seats.

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Meanwhile, the delay in the announcement of names of candidates for the remaining seats has only given birth to rumours and speculations while confusing the voters across the state.