New Delhi: In view of the raging second wave of Covid-19 pandemic, the Election Commission of India (ECI) today deferred the bye-election to Pipili Assembly constituency in Odisha and two other Assembly constituencies in West Bengal. The bye-election to the three Assembly seats was scheduled to be held on May 16, 2021.
In a statement, the poll panel stated, “Commission after taking all material facts and inputs of CEO West Bengal and CEO Odisha in consideration and taking note of lockdown/restrictions under Disaster Management Act, 2005, as issued by NDMA/SDMA has decided to defer the schedule poll and extend the period of elections in 110-Pipili Assembly constituency of Odisha and 58-Jangipur and 56-Samserganj Assembly constituencies of West Bengal.”
The Election Commission further stated fresh notification will be issued after assessing the pandemic situation.
The model code of conduct in the three Assembly constituencies has been lifted with immediate effect. The same will be in force from the next date of notification, the statement added.
A PIL was filed in the Orissa High Court seeking adjournment of bypoll to Pipili Assembly constituency. Senior lawyer Suryakant Padhi filed the petition in the court appealing the court to issue an order to defer the bye-election at least for four months as part of precautionary measures to prevent spread of COVID infection.
The Assembly seat in Pipili has been lying vacant since death of sitting 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 was rescheduled for May 13.
Again, the bypoll date was deferred to May 16 due to Eid festival.