Bhubaneswar: The Election Commission of India (ECI) announced Saturday that the long-awaited Pipili Assembly constituency polls will be conducted September 30. The counting of votes will take place October 3 and the result will be announced the same day.
The Pipili by-polls were initially scheduled for April 17 this year. However, it had to be postponed due to the demise of Congress candidate Ajit Mangaraj, just three days before the polls. He breathed his last April 14.
With the second wave of Covid-19 hitting Odisha and lockdown being implemented, the date of the by-election was kept in hold by the ECI. Now with the number of cases dipping in the state, and lockdown restrictions relaxed, the ECI has decided to conduct the elections to the Pipili constituency.
The ECI has also decided to hold the by-elections to the Bhabanipur Assembly constituency in West Bengal on the same day. It is a crucial election for West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. She had lost to Suvendu Adhikari by a narrow margin during the West Bengal elections from the Nandigram constituency.
To continue as chief minister, Banerjee will have to seek re-election to the West Bengal Assembly from some other constituency within six months. The results of the West Bengal elections were announce May 3. So by November 3, Banerjee will have to win from some other constituency and she has decided that she will contest from home turf only. Banerjee’s residence falls within the Bhabanipur constituency. Trinamool Congress’ Shobhandeb Chattopadhyay, who had earlier won the seat, has vacated it so that Banerjee can contest.