In view of a widespread devastation caused by Cyclone Fani in coastal Odisha, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday extended the completion of the elections on Patkura Assembly constituency for 60 days.
Earlier, ECI had fixed 19th May as the date of poll for Patkura Assembly Constituency after the demise of BJD candidate Bed Prakash Agarwalla. 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.
BJD has fielded Sabitri Agarwal, the widow of Bed Prakash Agarwal, from Patkura Assembly seat. The opposition BJP has fielded its veteran leader Bijoy Mohapatra from Patkura, while Congress has named Jayant Mohanty as its nominee.
Earlier, senior BJP leader and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had 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 had 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.
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 landfall in the state, Pradhan said: "The EC has assured me that it will take the 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 had said the poll panel made it clear that it had been relaxed only for cyclone-related activities.