Odisha Congress bypoll candidate dies of Covid
Ajit Mangaraj, the Congress candidate for the Pipili Assembly bypoll in Odisha, passed away on Wednesday.
Mangaraj, 53, was being treated at a hospital after he tested positive for Covid-19 during the campaign.
Odisha governor Ganeshi Lal, chief minister Naveen Patnaik, Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan and senior Congress leaders condoled his death.
Pradhan, who hails from the state, visited the hospital and expressed his condolence over the death of Mangaraj.
Senior Congress leader Pradeep Majhi said Mangaraj’s blood oxygen level dropped to below 30 per cent and he could not recover from it.
“It is our fault to hold elections during the pandemic. The Congress candidate became a victim of the infection. There should be no election during the pandemic,” the former MP said.
The Election Commission will take a call on whether the by-election, which was scheduled for April 17, should be countermanded or not.
The bypoll to the Pipili seat was necessitated following the death of BJD legislator Pradeep Maharathy in October last year. Maharathy had won the seat seven times. The BJD has fielded his son Rudra Pratap, while the BJP has nominated Ashrit Pattanayak.
Additional reporting from PTI