BHUBANESWAR: With the BJP all set to launch an aggressive campaign to wrest the Pipili Assembly seat from the BJD in the bypoll scheduled on September 30, a high-level meeting of the ruling outfit was held on Thursday to finalise its strategy. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will actively campaign for the party candidate, though it is yet to be decided whether he will physically address meetings or resort to virtual electioneering.
The party had decided to organise small ward-level meetings instead of holding large gatherings in view of the restrictions imposed by the Election Commission of India (ECI). The meeting held in the residence of Rural Development Minister Sushant Singh was attended by the party’s star campaigners, observers and in-charges.
Former minister and one of the star campaigners Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak told mediapersons that the party looks to retain the seat with an increased margin. Stating that the leaders could not interact with the public for the last three months due to Covid restrictions, Nayak said they were in contact with the voters through phone. “We have confidence of winning back the love of people,” he added.
He said the party leaders will campaign for the candidate from September 20 to 28 by adhering to Covid guidelines. Meanwhile, the BJD has announced 20-member star campaigners list for the bypoll.The bypoll was necessitated following the demise of sitting MLA Pradeep Maharathi on October 4, 2020 due to Covid-19. Maharathi had won seven times from the seat, including five times consecutively from 2000 to 2019.
While BJD has fielded Maharathi’s son Rudra Pratap from the seat, the BJP has nominated Ashrit Pattanayak. The Congress has announced Bishwokeshan Harichandan Mohapatra as its candidate.As per the ECI notification, counting of votes and announcement of results will be done on October 3.