Bhubaneswar: The Election Commission (EC) is delaying Bijepur bypoll due to pressure from the Centre, alleged Odisha Labour Minister Sushant Singh today.
"The BJP is not announcing their candidate, the election date is also not announced, it seems that something fishy is going on. People feel Election Commission is delaying the dates under pressure from the Central government. BJP may be pressurising the EC in fear of losing the election," said Singh.
Earlier BJD vice-president Debi Prasad Mishra and BJD spokesperson Sameer Das had also questioned the delay in announcement of the date. While the Bijepur bypoll has been necessitated following the death of three-time Congress MLA Subal Sahu, the date of the bypoll is yet to be announced.
Reacting to Singh's statement, BJP spokesperson Sajjan Sharma termed it as illogical. "He should stay away from giving such illogical statements, as there is no solution to it. The fear of losing elections is clear from his words," said Sharma.
On the other hand Congress claimed that it cannot be termed as delay in announcement of the dates.
"We cannot say that there is a delay in election, as the dates should be announced within six months. How can we call it a delay as six months are yet to be over. As elections are to take place in four to five other places in India, the election may be conducted alongwith them," said senior Congress leader Niranjan Patnaik.
Congress leader and Gaisilat Block Vice-Chairman Pranaya Kumar Sahu is presently leading the race as Congress candidate for the bypoll. BJP and BJD have also set their eyes on Pranaya as his candidature can lead to a triangular battle for the Bijepur seat.
However, the BJP is hopeful that such a situation will be beneficial for the party.
"If Pranaya Sahu is chosen the candidate of Congress then a triangular fight may take place in Gaisilat. He has continously been the Block Chairman and Vice-Chairman from 1997 till 2017 and he can join the election bandwagon if he represents Congress," said Bargarh BJP president Narayan Sahu.
"I had also tried to be candidate earlier and people also know about it. If Congress gives me the chance, the people will surely accept me," said Pranaya.
The projects announced by the State government for Bijepur may have no impact due to delay in elections. Further, the opposition may get ample time to target the ruling BJD on the farmers' suicide issue.