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Pradeep Singh

Puri: Ajit Mangaraj, Congress’ candidate for the Pipili bypoll, succumbed to COVID-19 infection on Wednesday. He was undergoing treatment at Apollo Hospitals in Bhubaneswar.

Public Relations Officer at Apollo Hospitals Rakesh Ray confirmed the passing away of the Congress candidate and said that Mangaraj had been undergoing treatment for COVID-19 infection in the hospital.

On April 10, Mangaraj through his official Facebook page informed about getting infected and wrote, “I have been undergoing treatment after got diagnosed for Covid-19.”

“The untimely demise of Mangaraj is a great loss to the Congress and the State at large,” said Congress MLA Santosh Singh Saluja.

Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that Mangaraj will always be remembered for his positive attitude and his contributions towards the society. Pradhan also offered condolences to the late Congress veteran’s family, friends and supporters.

BJP National Vice President Baijayant Panda expressed grief over demise of Mangaraj and wrote, “Deeply saddened to learn of the untimely demise of INC candidate for Pipili assembly constituency by Election Shri Ajit Mangaraj.”

Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also expressed grief over the death of the Congress candidate and offered condolences to his family members.

“His death was so sudden. We are absolutely shattered to hear the news,” said senior Congress leader Pradeep Majhi.

Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati said, “The demise of Mangaraj is a big loss to the party and his family. May God give strength to the bereaved family to bear the irreparable loss.”

Following the demise of Mangaraj, speculations are rife over the possibilities of conducting the bypoll to the Pipili assembly constituency scheduled to be held on April 17.

The bypoll was necessitated following the demise of BJD MLA Pradeep Maharathy.

Meanwhile, Odisha CEO Sushil Lohani said, “We are waiting for the report of the district returning officer regarding the demise of Congress candidate Ajit Mangaraj. The report will be then sent to the Election Commission of India which will announce fresh date for the bypoll.”

The Congress party will be allowed to select their new candidate for the by-election to the Pipili assembly constituency.

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