Bhubaneswar: A day after BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik requested Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) for postponement of Patkura Assembly election in view of the impending cyclonic storm Fani, a delegation of BJP leaders led by Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today met CEC in New Delhi urging the latter to not delay elections.
“Elections at Patkura should be held on May 19 as per the schedule. Cyclone Fani is likely to hit Odisha coast on May 3. As per IMD assessment the cyclone will likely make landfall near Puri which is 200 km away from Patkura in Kendrapara,” said Pradhan.
Pradhan argued that the impact and severity of the cyclone will be known sufficiently before May 19 and therefore it is too early to take a call on postponing the elections.
Also since the cyclone will landfall in Odisha on May 3 there will be sufficient time for relief and restoration.
“In our view elections should be held as per schedule as of now, the Election Commission may take a decision based on field reports on the severity of damages arising out of Cyclone Fani,” said Pradhan.
Election in Patkura, which was earlier scheduled to be held on April 29, was adjourned following the death of the 82-year-old Bed Prakash, a six-time MLA, on April 20. Later, the Election Commission of India (ECI) fixed May 19 for polling, the last phase of the seven-phase elections in the country.
BJP has fielded veteran leader Bijoy Mohapatra from Patkura Assembly seat.