BJD not to hold rallies, campaign meets for May 13 Pipili by- polls: Patnaik

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Bhubaneswar, Apr 19 (PTI) The ruling BJD in Odisha on Monday said it will not hold public rallies or campaign meetings ahead of the by-polls to the Pipili assembly segment on May 13 in the wake of the exponential rise in COVID-19 cases in the state.

The announcement in this regard was made by BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik through a series of social media posts on twitter.

'BJD as a responsible party will not like to put the lives of people in danger. We contest elections to serve people. If the campaign has potential to endanger lives, I would earnestly appeal to political parties & @ECISVEEP to reconsider both the duration & method of campaigning,' Patnaik tweeted.

'Every life is precious and I always consider people of Odisha as my family members. In this extremely serious COVID-19 situation amidst surge in cases in the country, BJD has decided not to hold public rallies,' he added.

The ruling BJD's announcement came a day after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi suspended all election campaigns in West Bengal.

The Pipili by-polls, which were originally scheduled to be held on April 17, was adjourned till May 13 following the demise of Congress candidate Ajit Mangaraj, who succumbed to COVID-19, on April 14.

Earlier in the day, the Election Commission issued a fresh notification, stating that polling will be held on May 13 between 7 am and 6 pm.

The election process shall be completed before May 18, the notification said. PTI AAM RBT RBT