BJP seeks Centre’s intervention over Odisha panchayat poll violence

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Bhubaneswar: The BJP’s Odisha unit on Friday sought Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s intervention over the alleged involvement of government officials in violence during panchayat polls in the state.

In a letter to the Minister, the state’s opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) drew his attention to what it said was “massive state-sponsored electoral violence by Biju Janata Dal goons with active cooperation of senior bureaucrats in the Chief Minister’s Office”.

“The ruling BJD unleashed a reign of terror to capture power in panchayat elections by not only using force but widely rigging the polls. We still apprehend continuance of violence by the ruling BJD against BJP candidates and workers in the coming days,” BJP spokesperson Sajjan Sharma said in the letter.

He said the ruling party got tacit support of state government officials.

“We apprehend the counting of Zila Parishad votes will be rigged,” he added.

The BJP leader claimed that even though audio-visual evidence of poll violence and rigging were produced before the state Election Commission, no credible action had been taken.

The results for Zila Parishad zones will be officially declared on February 25. Poll trends show that the seat share of the ruling BJD has decreased significantly compared with 2012 panchayat polls.

The BJP has put on an impressive show in the panchayat elections.

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