COVID surge: PIL in Odisha HC to postpone Pipili Bypoll

Cuttack: In view of devastating situation across Odisha due to sudden surge of COVID-19 in second wave of pandemic, an PIL has been filed in the Orissa High Court seeking deferment of bypoll to Pipili Assembly Constituency.

Senior lawyer Suryakant Padhi filed the petition in the court appealing to postpone the bye-election at least for 4 months as part of precautionary measures to prevent spread of COVID infection.

Worth mentioning that the State Government announced lockdown in all 30 districts for a period of 14 days with effect from May 5 till May 19 to contain transmission of Coronavirus.

However, Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra made it clear that the lockdown and weekend shutdown will not be applicable to the election-related works such as movement of poll personnel from their place of residence to place of training, disbursal, polling station, movement of election materials, movement of magistrates, candidates, polling agents and voters on dates of bypoll and counting of votes in Pipili.

The Assembly seat in Pipili is lying vacant since death of MLA Pradeep Maharathy in October last year. The bypoll to the constituency was scheduled on April 17. During the period of poll campaign, Congress candidate Ajit Mangaraj succumbed to COVID-19 following which the bye-election had to be rescheduled for May 13. Again, the bypoll date was deferred to May 16 due to Eid festival.

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