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Political Churning Among Parties Begins In Odisha For Pipili By-Poll

Bhubaneswar: Just few days after the by-election to two major Assembly seats from Odisha, poll heat is already thick in the air with major parties beginning preparations for selection of candidates for the forthcoming by-election to Pipili Assembly constituency even as a formal notification for the by-poll is yet to be issued by the Election Commission.

The three parties BJD,BJP and Congress have begun spadework for the by-poll which was necessitated following the death of BJD MLA Pradeep Maharathy.

Even though the BJD has set its mind to field one of the members from the family of late Maharathy in a bid to acquire sympathy votes, the party in the constituency has split into two parts over the candidature of Pradeep Maharathy’s widow Pratibha and son Rudrapratap. One section has batted for Pratibha while students wing are standing in solidarity with Rudraparatap.

“A memorandum demanding candidature of Pratibha Maharthy will be submitted to the district president Maheswar Moahanty as well as party supremo Naveen Patnaik. We want to see Pratibha Devi in the by-poll battle”, Prasanna Sahoo, Delanga block chairman  said.

The youth and students’ wing, however, went in favour of junior Maharathy aka Rudraparatap. “Youth and students want Rudrapratap to contest the by-election. No doubt, we will support whoever he/she may be from the party to fight, but votes of students and youths would remain in question”, Soumyaranjan Mahapatra, Biju Chhatra Janata Dal president of Pipili said.

However, the senior leaders have confirmed that a member from Maharathy family will contest the poll. “People of Pipili want a member from Maharathy’s family to contest, but, party president Naveen Patnaik will take a call at the right time”, BJD MLA Umakant Samantray said.

On the other hand, the BJP which failed to retain its Balasore seat in the recently concluded by-poll is leaving no stone unturned to reclaim its number of members in Assembly to 23. The party has intensified its mass outreach programme by roping in senior leader Asrita Patnaik who had unsuccessfully fought the  last Assembly election from the seat. BJP national spokesperson and party’s last time candidate from Puri Lok Sabha constituency Sambit Patra is supervising the activities.

“We just follow PM Modi’s call to remain with people and that is what we have been doing. The election is a natural process. We will prepare our plan in right time”, Patra added.

Similarly, the Congress which faced a massive debacle in Tirtol and Balasore Sadar by-election, has also commenced the ground work for a suitable candidate. An eight-member team has been constituted for the selection of candidature.

“The cadre restructuring will be completed within a week. The party president will take a final call on the selection of candidate. We all will support him”, Congress MLA Suresh Routray said.

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