Suryakant Jena

Bhubaneswar: The byelection to the Assembly constituency of Pipili has been announced. The Election Commission of India has declared that the bypoll to the Pipili segment will be held on April 17.

As per a notification released by the ECI, the gazette notification for the byelections to Pipili and 13 other Assembly constituencies in other States will be released on March 23. Last date for filling of nominations will be March 30.

The nomination papers will be scrutinised on March 31 while candidates can withdraw their candidatures by April 3. While the polling of votes will be conducted on April 17, counting and declaration of results will be held on May 2.

Two weeks ago, the  Odisha Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sushil Lohani had said the State machinery is ready for the much-anticipated bypoll. The Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter verifiable paper audit trails (VVPATs) have already reached the State.

Lohani had said the selection of polling personnel and their training have been completed. Besides, additional booths have been set up for the voters.

As per the revised electoral rules framed by the ECI keeping in view the Covid pandemic, as only 1000 voters will be allowed to cast their franchise in each booth, the Election Commission has set up auxiliary or extra booths. As per sources, around 348 to 350 booths will be set up for the polling of votes in the constituency.

The by-election to Pipili constituency was necessitated after the demise of seven-time MLA and former minister Pradeep Maharathy on October 4 last year.

Meanwhile, the announcement of the poll date has set political circles aflame with poll heat.