Bhubaneswar: Formal campaigning for the Pipili by-polls begins today with strict adherence to Covid-19 guidelines. All the three major Political parties including the favorite Biju Janata Dal will hit the campaign trail with their star campaigners from today. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is expected to make virtual campaigning for the Biju Janata Dal and senior party leaders will be seen on the ground campaigning for Rudra Pratap Maharathy, son of Pradeep Maharathy, who is all set to win the by-polls. The Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress too will kick start their high pitched campaign with star campaigners.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the campaign period has been curtailed to only seven days from today and the voting will be held on 30th September. The campaigning will end 72 hours before the voting takes place. The Election Commission has also curtailed the number of star campaigners this time to twenty members. Bike rallies, road shows, cycle rallies have been banned by the Commission. Only five people are allowed to be present during the house to house campaigning by the political parties. The ECI guidelines stipulate that only 50 persons can be present at the roadside shows organized by the political parties. A maximum of 200 persons, or 30 percent of the capacity, are allowed to attend political meetings held inside a hall. The ECI has also restricted the number of people who can attend a meeting of a star campaigner at one thousand.