BHUBANESWAR: As fresh dates have been announced for bypoll to Pipili Assembly constituency, demand is growing within the Congress to field Bandana Mangaraj, wife of deceased candidate Ajit Mangaraj, as the party nominee. The bypoll has been rescheduled to May 13 by the Election Commission of India (ECI) and formal notification will be issued in this regard on Monday.
Party sources said former president Rahul Gandhi, Odisha in-charge A Chellakumar and secretary of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) A Rudra Raju have talked to the wife of Mangaraj. Senior Congress legislator Suresh Kumar Routray had raised the issue following the demise of Mangaraj. He said all the Congress leaders in Pipili want that Mangaraj’s wife should be fielded in the bypoll. Sources said Congress presidents of Pipili and Delang blocks have supported the proposal.
The last date for filing of nomination papers for the Congress candidate is April 26. The bypoll was necessitated following the death of former minister Pradeep Maharathy on October 4 last year. While BJD has fielded Maharathy’s son Rudra Pratap Maharathy as candidate, the BJP has nominated Ashrit Pattanayak from the seat for the bypoll. The bypoll originally scheduled on April 17 was postponed following the death of Ajit Mangaraj on April 14 due to Covid-19.