Rashmi Rekha Das

Three major political parties in Odisha-BJD, BJP and Congress- have started the process to pick their candidates for the upcoming bypoll to Padampur assembly constituency in Bargarh district.

The bypoll, necessitated by the death of a sitting MLA, is scheduled to be held on December 5. BJD MLA Bijay Ranjan Singh Bariha , who represented the constituency, passed away on October 3.

According to sources, members of the three political parties have started lobbying for tickets. While BJP may field its former MLA Pradip Purohit for the assembly seat, the BJD is yet to take a final call on the candidate selection.

The ruling BJD seems to be in confusion in choosing its candidate for the bypoll as two family members from the late legislator's family have expressed their willingness to contest the by-election.

Following the death of Bijay Ranjan Singh Bariha, his wife Tilotama Singh had expressed her desire to fight the bypoll if given ticket by BJD Supremo Naveen Patnaik.

On the other hand, another family member from Bariha has shown willingness to fight the bypoll on BJD ticket. Bariha’s daughter-in-law (nephew’s wife) Madhabi Singh Bariha is hopeful of getting BJD ticket for the by-election. 

She said, “I would like to request Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to give ticket to any of our family members to contest the by-election. I am also aspiring to get BJD ticket for the upcoming bypoll. If given ticket, I will fulfill my uncle’s long pending dreams like opening more schools and colleges in our locality and repairing roads among other civic issues."

As per the schedule announced by the Election Commission of India (ECI), the formal notification for the bypoll will be issued on November 10 following which candidates can file their nomination papers till November 17. 

The last date for withdrawal of nomination has been fixed as November 21. The voting will be held on December 5 and counting will be conducted on December 8.