**Bhubaneswar: ** With the bugle recently blown and the formal notification for the much-awaited Bijepur by-election slated to be published on Tuesday (January 30) by the Election Commission of India, both the Chief Electoral Office and the main political parties here in Odisha are on their toes to enter into the fray on February 24. Bijepur assembly segment comes under Bargarh parliamentary constituency in western Odisha.
Briefing media, Odisha Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) D. N. Gupta on Monday said, “The notification for Bijepur by-election will be brought out tomorrow. And for this purpose, we have done preparatory work. The election management plan for the assembly constituency is being prepared. It is in the final stage of preparation.”
“Together with that, security plan is also being prepared and it will be finalized in one or two days. Necessary measures for ensuring model code of conduct have been taken. The model code of conduct (MCC) teams have been formed for the entire constituency. They are making necessary checks at different points,” the CEO informed.
As the by-election was necessitated in the wake of premature demise of its sitting Congress MLA Subal Sahu, who had retained the seat for three consecutive terms, main opposition Congress is optimistic of a sure shot win.
In his media reactions, Congress Chief Whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati said, “You will see Congress will come off with flying colours. It’ll certainly win. The seat has been won thrice. Now also it will. The people’s sympathy is with the Congress.”
“BJD and BJP will wield money and muscle power there. Congress will take the advantage of the corruption reeking there. Also reap benefit from BJD and BJP’s dramatics there,” the senior Congress leader lambasted.
On the other hand, BJP is also pinning high hopes after its unexpectedly remarkable performance in the 2017 held three-tier Panchayat polls.
Padampur (also under Bargarh parliamentary constituency) MLA and Odisha BJP spokesperson Pradip Purohit said, “BJP has already begun its screening process for choosing the candidate for Bijepur. List of probabale candidates have reached at the State party office from the district wing. Yesterday, a meeting of the State Core Committee was held. Now the name has been sent to our party’s Parliamentary Board. By tomorrow, it will accord its seal of approval on the name recommended from here and BJP will thus announce the name of the candidate.”
“Out of the total 256 booths there, the district party president along with other party office bearers hav been entrusted with the responsibilities. State-level leaders have been appointed for each panchayat. In order to coordinate them, three senior party leaders have been assigned for the three blocks under Bijepur assembly seat. For Gaislet block is Kanak Vardhan Singhdeo. For Bijepur block is Jayanarayan Mishra. For Barpali block is Basant Panda. BJP State General Secretary Ranjan Patel has been bestowed with the charge of coordinating them all. BJP has finalized its strategy and moving faster in its poll campaign,” Purohit informed.
Ruling BJD spokesperson Sameer Dash said, “When the party is entering into the electoral fight, all organizational responsibilities at the panchayat and block levels will certainly be in place. Also boothwise. Our party is absolutely prepared.”
“Our main plank is development. BJD under the leadership of Chief Minister has been making its main poll plank. It’s not only confined to Bijepur, but all over Odisha,” the BJD spokesperson averred.