Patkura Poll: BJP, BJD wrangle over postponement of poll date

With BJP's Patkura MLA candidate Bijoy Mohapatra throwing a challenge to BJD supremo CM Naveen to contest against him, winning the Assembly segment seems to have become a 'prestige-battle' for the ruling party

Bhubaneswar: A day after Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik approached the Election Commission of India (ECI) seeking postponement of election to the Patkura Assembly constituency, a delegation of the BJP led by Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today met the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) at New Delhi and urged not to defer the poll date.

The BJP alleged that the ruling BJD is intentionally trying to postpone elections to the Patkura Assembly constituency due to the fear of losing the seat.

“BJD is sure to lose Patkura election. BJD has mentioned that the landfall of cyclone Fani will be in Rajnagar (Kendrapara), but actually it will be around 100 km away; besides, the election will be held 14-15 days after the cyclone. So, Patkura election should be held on the scheduled date,” said Pradhan.

He further said that the BJD is trying to create panic among the people of Odisha and they believe that the Election Commission will take the right decision at the right time.

Responding to BJP’s allegations, BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra said that Pradhan should show some sort of sensitiveness at a time when the people of the State are going to face nature’s fury.

“Pradhan’s allegations are baseless; during natural calamity, all political parties come together to help those affected and so, he should refrain from making such disappointing comments,” said Patra.

CM Naveen had on Tuesday requested the Election Commission to delay polling in Patkura Assembly segment due to the expected landfall of cyclone Fani. The BJD had stated that there is a need to postpone the elections as the cyclone is expected hit Odisha coast on May 3, and the entire focus of the State administration will be on cyclone management.

Earlier, election in Patkura under the Kedrapara Lok Sabha constituency was adjourned after the death of BJD candidate Bed Prakash Agarwalla. Subsequently, Election Commission notified that the constituency would go to polls on May 19.