**Bhubaneswar: ** As it has been approved by the Election Commission of India (ECI), the final publication of electoral rolls of Bijepur assembly constituency will be done on January 20 following which it is speculated that the much-awaited Bijepur bypoll date is expected to be announced after January 20.
As per a press release dated January 15, 2018 issued to media by Government of Odisha’s Home (Elections) Department, “The final publication of electoral rolls of Special Summary Revision for Bijepur Assembly Constituency, Odisha will be done on 20th January, 2018.”
It has also been mentioned, “The final publication of electoral rolls of Special Summary Revision for the remaining 146 Assembly Constituencies of Odisha will be done on 16th February, 2018.”
Notably, Bijepur assembly seat has been lying vacant since August 22, 2017 due to the premature demise of its three-time Congress MLA Subal Sahu. The Odisha Assembly formally notified the vacancy on August 24, 2017.
As per the statutory norms, a bypoll for a vacant Lok Sabha or assembly seat should be held within six months of its vacancy.
Amid the political hullabaloo against the inordinate delay in announcement of Bijepur bypoll schedule by the Election Commission of India, Odisha Chief Electoral Officer had earlier told media that the Commission also takes into consideration the six month deadline from the date of disposal of any sub judice election petition.
In Bijepur case also an election petition was sub judice challenging the victory of late Subal Sahu. However, the Orissa High Court on October 16, 2017 had concluded its hearing of the petition filed against the then winner Congress MLA Subal Sahu by his contender BJD leader Prasanna Acharya.