Bypoll for Pipli assembly seat rescheduled for May 16

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Bhubaneswar, Apr 22 (PTI) The Election Commission of India (ECI) Thursday rescheduled polling for the Pipili assembly seat by-election in Puri district to May 16, official sources said.

This was announced by Odisha's Chief Electoral Officer S K Lohani.

Though the earlier polling date was fixed on May 13, it has been rescheduled to May 16 in view of the Eid-al-Fitr, a religious festival of the Muslim community.

Stating that the ECI has received several petitions seeking change of the polling day in the Pipili assembly segment, Lohani said the date has now changed.

'The polling will be held in Pipili from 7 am to 6 pm on May 16 with adherence of the COVID-19 protocol,' Lohani said.

While the polling will be held on May 16, the counting of votes to be conducted on May 19, Lohani said adding that the entire by-election process will be completed by May 21.

According to the new guideline issued in view of the pandemic situation, the election campaign will now end 72 hours before the close of polls instead of earlier 48 hours.

Therefore, the poll campaign will end in Pipili from May 13 evening, he said.

Similarly, the ECI has banned political rallies and meetings.

Political parties can hold campaigns through virtual mode. Maximum five persons will be allowed for the door-to- door campaign.

He said the thermal screening of voters to be made at the polling booths.

If any symptom is found in any voter, a token will be given to him/her. The voter will be allowed to cast his/her vote after 5 pm. Besides, gloves will be given to all voters, the CEO added.

The by-poll was earlier countermanded after the death of Congress candidate Ajit Mangaraj, three days before the polling earlier scheduled to be held on April 17.

The fresh notification was later issued fixing polling date on May 13.

However, this has now been changed to May 16, he said.

The by-elections to Pipili assembly segment are being held following the death of BJD MLA Pradeep Maharathy who passed away in October last year.

BJD has fielded Maharathys son Rudrapratap Maharathy while BJP nominated Ashrit Pattnayk as its candidate. PTI AAM SNS SNS