Bhubaneswar: The Congress and the BJD on Friday targeted the BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre for the Election Commission of India (ECI) inordinately delaying declaration of the date of the Bijepur Assembly by-election in the State.
They alleged that the Union Government has been influencing the ECI to procrastinate the Bijepur by-poll date as the BJP feels it is not yet ready to face it organisationally.
While these two parties have earlier been critical of non-declaration of the Bijepur by-election schedule, they have now grown more suspicious about a Central Government-ECI nexus following the announcement of the by-poll dates in other States like Rajasthan and West Bengal.
The Bijepur seat has been lying vacant after the death of Congress MLA Subal Sahu on August 21 this year.
Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly Narasingha Mishra said it is difficult to understand why the ECI is delaying announcement of the by-poll date. This leads to a suspicion that the BJP is using the ECI as its tool.
BJD MLA and spokesperson Samir Ranjan Dash also made a similar allegation, saying that the BJP is pressurising the ECI to go slow as the saffron party appears to be running third (behind the BJD and the Congress) in the race for the Bijepur seat.