Politics

BJD criticizes ECI over delay in Bijepur by-poll date announcement

Bhubaneswar: Even as the Bijepur Assembly Constituency is lying vacant since August 21 following the death of sitting Congress legislator Subal Sahu, the Election Commission of India (ECI) is still lagging behind to announce date for the by-poll which has triggered criticism from the ruling BJD in Odisha.

Describing this as astonishing, BJD Rajya Sabha member Prasanna Acharya said election has been announced for seats which had fallen vacant after Bijepur. But, there was no announcement in the case of Bijepur, he said and added BJD is always ready for polls.

'I think holding back election to Bijepur will help those who are not ready,' he said and added that by-poll to Bijepur should have been over in February because of matriculation examination in Odisha.

Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik has announced Rita Sahu, wife of Subal Sahu as the party candidate for Bijepur. Though BJP is yet to announce its candidate, former BJD MLA from the constituency Ashok Panigrahy is likely to be the party's candidate.

Panigrahy had joined BJP in the presence both the Union Ministers from the State, Jual Oram and Dharmendra Pradhan.

However, Congress is yet to begin its spadework for the by-poll because of acute factionalism in the State unit.

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