Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday announced projects worth over Rs 68 crore for Pipili assembly constituency area .

The announcement comes ahead of the by-election to Pipili Assembly constituency which is likely to announced soon. The seat is lying vacant since the death of veteran BJD heavyweight MLA Pradeep Maharathy.

The projects for development of the area ranged from roads, irrigation, bridges, bus terminus, stadium, drinking water etc.

Ministers Samir Ranjan Dash and Tusharkanti Behera attended the public meetings at Pipili and Delanga respectively where ration cards and pension was also distributed.

Addressing people of Pipili constituency via video conferencing, the Chief Minister noted that Mahatma Gandhi had visited Delanga area of the constituency. As part of the centenary celebrations of Mahatma’s visit to Odisha, the state government will establish a model school at Beraboi in Delang and a memorial, he said.

Highlighting achievements of his government and its priorities, the CM said a smile on the face of the poor and development of villages and rural areas has all along been the priority of his government.

The Chief Minister made specific references to the role of Mission Shakti and farmers even during the pandemic. He heaped praise on the women groups and the farmers. The farmers have bailed out the economy from a deeper crisis during the pandemic, he said.

He paid rich tributes to late Pradeep Maharathy and said Maharathy had served people of the constituency for over 30 years , being elected for six terms. He was a devoted and hardworking leader who had always fought for the well being of farmers , said the CM.

Reacting to the announcements, the Opposition Congress and BJP said it is a “ pre-poll gimmick” . The Congress reminded that packages were announced by the CM during each bypoll – Bijepur, Balasore, Tirtol and said not one of them has been fulfilled or done.

The BJP too echoed the same charge and claimed that people have seen through such pre-poll promises.

Significantly, the widow and son of Maharathy (both said to be contenders for the BJD ticket) were conspicuous by their absence at today’s meetings prompting speculations that the CM may opt for a surprise woman candidate.