BJD starts preparation for Pipili by-poll

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Bhubaneswar, Jan 28 (PTI) Ruling Biju Janata Dal on Thursday started preparation for the by-poll of Pipili assembly seat in Puri district by appointing senior leader P K Deb as the election observer for the party.

BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik appointed Deb as the party observer for selection of candidate and conduct of the by-election to be held following the demise of seven-time MLA and former minister Pradeep Maharathy on October 4 last year.

Though the Election Commission of India (ECI) is yet to notify the date for the Pipili by-poll, Odisha's Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) S K Lohani on January 25 had said that the state machinery is ready for the by-election anytime.

Party sources said that the BJD may field either Maharathy's wife Pratibha or his son Rudra as the party candidate in Pipili by-poll. Both Pratibha and Rudra have separately said that they would not hesitate to contest the by-poll if given a chance.

'Me or my mother, whoever gets the ticket, will contest in the election and work to fulfil the dreams of my father. My father always wanted to work for the betterment of Pipili and Delanga areas. We will also follow his footprints,' Rudra told reporters here on Thursday.

Rudra said he has worked along with his father and has experience of election management. 'My mother too has experience of political affairs, but we all will accept the decision taken by the party,' Rudra said.

Pratibha, a college teacher by profession, on January 20, had expressed her willingness to contest from Pipili Assembly constituency. 'Keeping in view Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's women empowerment efforts, the party may field Pratibha in Pipili by-polls,' an insider said.

Last year the ruling BJD had won Tirtol and Balasore by-polls. PTI AAM RG RG