Bhubaneswar | Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan Wednesday strongly opposed the move by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for postponement of polls in Patkura assembly constituency in view of the impending Cyclone Fani.
Pradhan met the Election Commission in Delhi during the day and urged it not to postpone the polls in Patkura seat as the cyclone is likely to hit somewhere in Puri district, about 150 km away.
“The chief minister in his letter to the EC has mentioned that the cyclone is likely to hit Rajnagar block in Kendrapara district. This is not correct. The cyclone is likely to hit Krushna Prasad block under Brahmagiri assembly segment, which is 150 km from Patkura,” Pradhan said in a statement.
Stating that there is no justification to postpone the polls in Patkura, which is scheduled to be held on May 19 which will be about 15 days after the cyclone’s possible land fall in the state, Pradhan said “The EC has assured me that it will take right decision at the right time.”
On Patnaik’s demand for removal of the model code of conduct in coastal districts in view of the cyclone, Pradhan said the EC has made it clear that it has been relaxed only for cyclone related activities.
The state government, he alleged, has been conspiring to prepare false bills of Rs 1000 crore in the name of spending for the natural calamity. “We will not allow the government to loot public money,” Pradhan said.
Patnaik had on Tuesday met the EC in New Delhi and urged it to postpone polling in Patkura assembly seat and withdraw the model code of conduct for all the coastal districts in view of the severe cyclonic storm Fani, which is expected to make its landfall on Friday.
Patnaik had said in a letter to EC “…At this point of time to have a politically supercharged atmosphere will cause serious dislocation in the preparedness.
It is strongly suggested to postpone the poll to Patkura to a later date so that communities can work together in harmony and administration can focus saving precious lives and valuable property, he said.
Patnaik also said, “The projected cyclone path is crossing Kendrapara district and land fall is expected to be Rajnagar block in Kendrapara district.”
Earlier, the EC had adjourned the polls in Patkura assembly segment to May 19 following the demise of BJD candidate Bed Prakash Agarwalla on April 20.
As per the original schedule, the polling in Patkura was to be held in the fourth and last phase on April 29.
Though the voters of Patkura have exercised their franchise for the Kendrapara Lok Sabha seat on April 29, the polling for the assembly elections has been adjourned till May 19.
Meanwhile, BJD candidate for Patkura assembly seat, Sabitri Agarwal, the widow of Bed Prakash Agarwal, filed her nomination Tuesday.
The opposition BJP has fielded its veteran leader Bijoy Mohapatra from Patkura, while Congress has named Jayant Mohanty as its nominee.
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