ECI Official to Visit Odisha in September Amid Early Polls Rumours
Bhubaneswar: As buzz around an early Assembly poll speculation grows louder in Odisha, a senior official of the Election Commission of India (ECI) is scheduled to arrive in the state in September. Elaborate discussion will be held with district Collectors regarding election-related matters.
Odisha Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Nikunja Dhal on Tuesday informed that election is one the biggest festivals in the country and the preparations usually take time. The CEO said the state had already received EVMs as per the requirements along with VVPATs for 9 districts. All EVMs and VVPATs will be examined in October.
“We need to procure materials, train manpower and manually print documents. We usually start preparations at the right time. Our preparations have nothing to do with early elections in Odisha. I had told this earlier also,” said Dhal.
Dhal further said, “We are very much on schedule to do the election as per the schedule to be announced by the Election Commission of India (ECI).”
Major political parties in Odisha have exuded that they are always ready for the polls.
BJP MLA Mukesh Mahaling said, “The organisation is always ready and it is a continuous process for the BJP to organise various programmes from booth to mandal level. As an MLA, things will only get clear after the Assembly notification.”
BJD MLA, Dibya Shankar Mishra also said that his party is also ready for the election.
“BJD always works for the poor. We are always with the people and ready to serve them. Our aim is to successfully implement the welfare schemes announced by the Chief Minister,” said Mishra.
Sources said the BJD leadership and chief minister Naveen Patnaik is quite anxious to have early polls as the opposition BJP and Congress are not yet battle-ready for the polls.
In the 2019 assembly polls, the BJD won 113 seats while the BJP got 23. The Congress was content with only 9 seats though the party had fielded candidates in all 147 constituencies.
Odisha Legislative Assembly’s current term ends in May 2024.