Bhubaneswar, April 19: The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has decided not to hold any public rallies or campaign meetings for Pipili by-election in view of rising Covid-19 cases in the State, said party president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday.
The BJD president also appealed the political parties and Election Commission of India to reconsider both the duration and method of campaigning in the ensuing by-poll.
In a series of tweets, Patnaik said, “Every life is precious and I always consider people of Odisha as my family members. In this extremely serious COVID-19 situation amidst surge in cases in the country, Biju Janata Dal Odisha has decided not to hold any public rallies or campaign meetings in Pipili bypoll.”
“BJD as a responsible party will not like to put the lives of people in danger. We contest elections to serve people. If the campaign has potential to endanger lives, I would earnestly appeal to political parties & Election Commission of India to reconsider both the duration & method of campaigning,” his tweet read.
“India is a mature democracy and together we can come out with a solution. Democracy is by the people, for the people and of the people. Jai Hind,” he added.
As per the fresh notification issued by the Election Commission of India, the last day for filling of nomination paper for Pipili by poll is April 26. Scrutiny will be held on April 27.
The last date for withdrawal of nomination papers is May 13 while polling will be held on May 13.
The by-election in the Pipili assembly segment, which was scheduled for April 17, was postponed following the demise of Congress candidate Ajit Mangaraj due to Covid-19.
Congress leader Mangaraj who was contesting the by-election died of Covid-19 on April 14 while undergoing treatment at a private hospital in the State Capital.
Mangaraj had tested positive for Covid-19 on April 10.
The by-poll has been necessitated for the Pipli assembly segment due to the demise of BJD MLA Pradeep Maharathy in October 2020. Maharathy also died due to Covid-19 complications.