Bijepur Bypoll On Oct 21, Counting on Oct 24: ECI

Bhubaneswar:  The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Saturday announced the date for by-election to Bijepur Assembly seat. As per the Commission’s decision, the Bijepur bypoll will be held on October 21.

An official notification regarding the bypoll will be issued on September 23 while the last date for filing of nomination by candidates is September 30, 2019. Counting of votes will be held on October 24, 2019.

Odisha Chief Electoral Officer, Surendra Kumar informed that already the Model Code of Conduct has come to force in Bargarh from today.

The bypoll was necessitated after BJD supremo and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who successfully contested from Hinjili and Bijepur Assembly constituencies in 2019 elections, retained Hinjili seat and vacated Bijepur seat in June 2019. It was for the first time that Patnaik had contested from Western Odisha.

Prior to his resignation from the seat, Patnaik had announced special packages worth over Rs 1,300 crore for Bijepur in the month of May this year.

All the major political parties including ruling-BJD, Congress and BJP have already started preparations for Bijepur bypoll. The ruling-BJD recently constituted a  four-member election coordination team for Bijepur bypoll.

Speculation is rife that BJD will again field former MLA Rita Sahu. Sahu had won the bypoll in 2018 after she was roped in by BJD following the untimely demise of her husband Subal Sahu.

It is being said that the recent appointment of Subash Chauhan (whose name was also doing the rounds) as the chairman of the Western Odisha Development Council, has paved the way for Rita Sahu to be the BJD candidate for the bypoll. However, an official announcement is yet to be made by BJD.

The Bharatiya Janata Party is likely to field Sanath Gartia from the seat as he had got more than 55000 votes during the 2019 polls while contesting against CM Naveen. Besides, former Padampur MLA Pradeep Purohit is also heard to be among the saffron party expectants from the seat.

Congress on the other hand is likely to field its former Bijepur MLA Ripu Nath Seth from the constituency.