NEW DELHI :
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik Tuesday requested the Election Commission to delay polling in one of the 147 assembly segments to avoid any inconvenience due to upcoming cyclone Fani.
Assembly poll in Patkura--one of the segments under the Kedrapara Lok Sabha seat--was countermanded after the death of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) candidate ahead of elections. Subsequently, Election Commission had notified that the assembly constituency will go to polls on May 19. While the last date for filing nomination is May 1, the last date for withdrawal of nomination is May 4.
As per the met department, the cyclone Fani is expected to make a landfall at Odisha coast on May 3. The ruling BJD feels that since the focus will be on cyclone management, the polls in Patkura should be delayed further. The met department said cyclone Fani intensified into a ‘severe cyclonic storm’ on Monday evening and is headed towards the Odisha coast.
"I am in Delhi to meet the Election Commission of India regarding the postponement of the by-elections of Patkura assembly seat in case the cyclone hits Odisha," Patnaik told news agency ANI.
The state administration has put district collectors of 11 districts including Ganjam, Puri, Kendrapada, Balasore and Cuttack on alert.
Meanwhile, BJP leader from Odisha and union minister Dharmendra Pradhan too met the Election Commission Tuesday. Pradhan thanked union home ministry for releasing advance fund to four states--Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal--to deal with the cyclone.
“Thanks Hon. HM Sh. @rajnathsingh ji for the unprecedented move to release an advance of ₹1,086 crore including ₹340.85 crore to Odisha as financial assistance to enable preventive measures and enhance preparedness in response to Cyclone Fani," Pradhan tweeted.