Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: With the resignation of Kendrapara MP Baijayant 'Jay' Panda from the Lok Sabha today, discussions are on whether there will be a bypoll in the constituency or not.

While announcing his decision today to dissociate from the BJD, Panda also said that he would separately convey his decision formally to the Lok Sabha Speaker to accept his resignation from the House.

As per the constitutional provisions, it is mandatory to hold a bypoll for an assembly or Lok Sabha seat within six months from the date it falls vacant.

However, experts said provisions laid down under Section 151A of the Representation of the People Act state that it is not mandatory to hold a by-election to a seat, which has fallen vacant, if the general elections are due within a year.

The Election Commission (EC) will take a final call on the bypoll after discussions with the Centre, said constitutional expert, Subhash Kashyap.

"Once the EC is informed that a seat has fallen vacant, it has a six-month period to publish notification for the by-election.

- Kashyap added.

Meanwhile, rumours are also doing rounds over Jay Panda's next course of action. Speculations that Jay Panda will join BJP are not new and have been around for some time now.

Amid such discussions, Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Jual Oram said BJP always welcomes like-minded people to its party fold and Jay Panda will be welcomed if he wants to join the saffron party.

Similarly, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president, Niranjan Patnaik said that Congress will be happy to welcome Panda to the party.