Pipili bypoll: Preparations final, Odisha awaits ECI nod, says Chief Electoral Officer
Puri: Even the Election Commission of India (ECI) is yet to announce the date of the by-election to Pipili assembly constituency in Puri district, Odisha Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) has said the State machinery is ready for the much-anticipated bypoll.
Speaking to the media, CEO Sushil Kumar Lohani said, “We are ready with all necessary preparations for Pipili by-election. The Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter verifiable paper audit trails (VVPATs) have already reached the State.”
Lohani said the selection of polling personnel and their training have been completed. Besides, additional booths have been set up for the voters.
“As the number of voters will be restricted to 1000 at each booth in view of Covid-19, auxiliary or extra booths have been set up. As soon as the ECI issues notification, others procedures will follow,” Lohani added.
The by-election to Pipili constituency was necessitated after the demise of seven-time MLA and former minister Pradeep Maharathy on October 4 last year.
Ruling Biju Janata Dal has already started preparation for the by-poll by appointing senior leader Pratap Keshari Deb as the election observer for selection of candidate and conduct of the by-election.
According to party sources, BJD may field either Maharathy’s wife Pratibha or his son Rudra as the party candidate in the by-poll. Both Pratibha and Rudra have separately said that they would not hesitate to contest the by-poll if given a chance.
Recently, chief minister Naveen Patnaik had also announced a slew of development projects worth crores of rupees for the constituency.