Suspense over Bijepur poll date

Bhubaneswar: The suspense over the date for the Bijepur Assembly bypoll continues despite the election commission beginning preparations.

The seat fell vacant following the death of Congress MLA Subal Sahu on August 22.

Odisha chief electoral officer D.N. Gupta said on Wednesday: "While bypolls should be held within six months in normal situations, it should be held within six months of the closure of a case if there are pending petitions."

"In this context, a case was pending in the high court, which vacated it on October 16." However, the BJD and the Congress did not agree with Gupta. "According to constitutional provisions, the bye-election should be held within six months from the date of vacancy. The BJP is pressurising the election commission to delay it as it is scared of facing the electorate," BJD spokes-person Sulochana Das said.

Congress leader Sarat Rout echoed the BJD and said it was mandatory to hold a bypoll within six months of the vacancy according to provisions of the Constitution and the Representation of Peoples Act. BJP spokesperson Sajjan Sharma hit back: "The seat was deemed vacant only after the case was disposed of. The bypoll will be held within six months from the date of the court order. The BJD is creating unnecessary confusion knowing the legal provisions."


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