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Odisha bypolls | BJD not to hold public rallies, announces Naveen Patnaik

Naveen Patnaik. File photo  

A day after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi suspended all his rallies in West Bengal, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday announced that his party would not hold any public rallies or campaign meetings for the ensuing Pipili bypoll.

The Pipili bypoll which was scheduled to be held on April 17, was postponed following death of Congress candidate Ajit Mangaraj in COVID-19. Subsequently, the Election Commission of India has announced May 13 as new date for polling for bypoll.

In a series of tweets, Mr. Patnaik said, “every life is precious and I always consider people of Odisha as my family members. In this extremely serious COVID-19 situation amidst surge in cases in the country, the Biju Janata Dal has decided not to hold any public rallies or campaign meetings in Pipili bypoll.”

“BJD as a responsible party will not like to put the lives of people in danger. We contest elections to serve people. If the campaign has potential to endanger lives, I would earnestly appeal to political parties and Election Commission of India to reconsider both the duration and method of campaigning,” he said.

The Odisha CM said, “India is a mature democracy and together we can come out with a solution. Democracy is by the people, for the people and of the people.”

During the campaign for Pipili bypoll, Mr. Patnaik had once addressed voters through virtual mode.

Earlier on the day, he wished speedy recovery for Leader of Opposition and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Pradipta Naik, who tested positive for coronavirus.

The BJD’s decision came on a day when the State clocked highest single day infection since COVID-19 pandemic hit the country last year. The State on Monday reported 4445 cases taking the total caseload to 3,72,703.

On April 1, the State reported daily spike of 394. Since then per-day reporting of infection has increased 10 times. Four persons died of COVID-19 taking the total toll to 1948.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 8:41:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/odisha-bypolls-bjd-not-to-hold-public-rallies-announces-naveen-patnaik/article34358713.ece

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