|Bhubaneswar: The political parties have started flexing their muscles vigorously for the ensuing bypoll to Pipili constituency scheduled for September 30.
While the ruling Biju Janata Dal is confident of retaining the seat for the eighth consecutive time, the Bharatiya Janata Party is hopeful of springing a surprise with a victory in the BJD stronghold. The Congress, on the other hand, is bracing for a tough fight.
Stating that Pipili seat is an impenetrable fortress for the rivals, Rural Development, Labour and Employees’ State Insurance Minister Susanta Singh claimed that BJD nominee Rudra Pratap Maharathy has the blessings of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
“Although the Chief Minister is unlikely to personally campaign in Pipili, he has conducted a virtual meeting with the people. However, we will again urge him to hold another virtual meeting,” Singh said.
“In keeping with the suggestion of Chief Minister to campaign in conformity with COVID-19 protocol, party workers had conducted door-to-door campaigning in Pipili earlier. The campaigning will now be done by 4-5 party members in each ward while small meetings would be organised in the panchayats,” he added.
Meanwhile, BJP spokesperson Rama Ranjan Baliarsingh said his party candidate Ashrit Pattnayak, who had lost the last Assembly polls to the BJD by a small margin, has been in constant touch with the electorate even after the Election Commission had deferred the polls due to the pandemic. “This time, the people will see how the campaigning is done by reaching out to the people or through the digital platform,” he pointed out.
BJP’s veterans and star campaigners would soon reach the constituency to spearhead the electioneering vigorously, he claimed.
Briefing mediapersons after a meeting at the Congress Bhawan, working president of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Chiranjib Biswal said his party has already begun the campaign in Pipili.
“Today we discussed how to reach our electorate. After all, I am not an astrologer to predict the winner’s name. But it is certain that we will give a tough fight this time,” Biswal asserted.
Stating that the 20-member Congress star campaigners including state in-charge Chellakumar will campaign for party nominee Bishwokeshan Harichandan Mohapatra, he said OPCC working president Pradip Majhi, who has remained absent today, will join the campaign tomorrow.
The byelection to the constituency was necessitated by the death of BJD legislator Pradeep Maharathy and the bypoll was countermanded in May this year due to the death of Congress candidate.
Also Read: EC Announces Date For Pipili Bypoll In Odisha