Bhubaneswar, April 14: The Pipili bypoll is likely to be deferred as Congress candidate Ajit Mangaraj died of Corona at a private hospital in the city this afternoon.
Official sources said as per rules, the bypoll is to be countermanded which was scheduled to be held on April 17. However, official announcement has not been made yet.
As per the Peoples’Representation Act, the poll is countermanded following the death of the candidate of any registered party.
The next poll date is to be announced by the Election Commission of India after he/she receives the report on the death of any candidate. The death has taken place just a few minutes earlier and therefore, it will take time for the report to be prepared by the Returning Officer and sent to Election Commission following which the decision will be taken.
State’s Chief Electoral Officer Sushil Lohani said that the Congress would be given time to nominate a new candidate. However, the nomination of other political parties would remain intact.
Similar incident had taken place following the death of BJD candidate Bed Prakash Agrawal of Patakura assembly bypoll last year. Later, Agrawal’s wife Savitri Agrawal was nominated as the party nominee. There after, the bypoll was held after some days with the nomination of other party candidates remaining intact.
Mangaraj was admitted in the hospital a few days ago, as he was affected by Covid-19. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had spoken to his brother and family members yesterday and enquired about his health conditions. Today, Union Petroleum & Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, former PCC President Jaydev Jena, his party MLAs, Tara Prasad Bahinipati, Ramesh Chandra Jena and others assembled at the private hospital to pay their last respect.
Governor Prof Ganeshi Lal and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik condoled the untimely death of Mangaraj. Family sources said his body would be taken to his native village Ankoli for the last rites.