Bijepur by-election: A BJP delegation led by Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan along with Bhupendra Yadav and Sambit Patra on Tuesday met the Election Commission in Delhi. The delegation met EC and requested for a fair by-election in Bijepur, Odisha. The BJP contingent alleged that ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has used the state machinery and Rs 1500 crores from government funds for the polls, reported ANI. On January 27, the Delhi High Court had sought the stand of the Election Commission (EC) on a plea alleging delay in issuing of notification for a by-election in Bijepur assembly constituency in Odisha. Justice Rekha Palli directed the EC\u2019s counsel to get specific instructions regarding the time frame in which it proposes to hold the by-election. However, the Commission contended that the process for holding the by-election is under active consideration. The court was hearing a petition by a civil organisation, which had sought direction to the Election Commission of India for early conduct of the by-elections for Bijepur assembly seat. Expressing concern over the \u201cdelay\u201d in announcement of dates for the bypoll, Kanak Foundation has alleged that the EC had delayed the issuing of notification for the poll due to which the people in the constituency were suffering. The assembly seat had fallen vacant following the demise of MLA Subala Sahu on August 22, 2017. The court will further hear the matter on February 9. During the hearing, the poll panel\u2019s counsel submitted that VVPATs and EVMs have been procured for the elections and officials have been trained for the purpose. The issue has triggered a war of words among the major political parties \u2014 BJD and BJP \u2014 in the state. The BJD, which is in power in Odisha, has accused the BJP-led NDA government of influencing the Election Commission to delay the bypoll to the advantage of the saffron party. The BJP, however, denied the accusation.