Dilip Kumar

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Pradesh Congress on Tuesday demanded postponement of the upcoming Pipili by-election in view of the Covid-19 crisis that has hit the country as well as the State. The bypoll is scheduled to be held on May 16.

At press meet, senior Congress leader and executive PCC president Pradeep Majhi said that the election doesn’t mean anything now while people are grappling with Covid-19 crisis. Human lives are more precious than anything now, he said.

“At a time when health experts are of the opinion that Corona would hit its peak in mid-May, election at that time should not be conducted at the cost of human lives. Is election very important than the human lives during a pandemic crisis? The bypoll should be deferred until the State and Central government brought the crisis under control,” Majhi said.

The situation in Pipili-Delanga is so precarious that people are not allowing political leaders to enter their village now. So, how can the poll campaign take place there?, he asked.

While appealing to the Election Commission to put up the bypoll, Majhi also sought coopearation from the BJP and BJD in this regard.
On the other hand, ruling BJD and Opposition BJP in the State hit back at the Congress.

The BJP dubbed the Congress party’s proposal as political gimmick. “The proposal what has brought by the Congress party has no base and it is a part of their political gimmick. There is no instance anywhere in India regarding cancellation of elections once the notification is issued by the Election Commission,” BJP State general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan said.

“If we go to the poll in a very discipline manner in strict adherence to appropriate covid behavior, safe polls could be conducted there,” he added.

BJD vice president Debi Prasad Mishra said “The directive of Election Commission, which is the statuary body of the constitution, is being implemented. The state government has nothing to do with it. Chief Minister has also strictly directed us not hold big rallies in the bypoll-bound Pipili. Only a handful of leaders with candidate can canvass for there.”