Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Odisha Election Commission has registered two FIRs against two women in the cash for vote allegations during the election campaign for Dhamnagar bypolls.

The complaints were registered at Dhamnagar Police Station under several sections after allegation about cash distribution to lure voters was received, informed the Odisha Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Sushil Lohani on Wednesday.

Addressing the press, Lohani said, “We identified the accused yesterday. Following the identification, we lodged the FIR within 24 hours.”

It is pertinent to mention here that apart from cash distribution allegations, there was another video about a BJD worker announcing in a party meeting that CM Naveen Patnaik will give Rs 1 crore to every panchayat in Dhamnagar that votes for the BJD.

Speaking about that viral video, Lohani said, “We have identified the man who was saying about Rs 1 crore for votes. Complaints have been registered under Section 123 (1), 123 (2), 123 (3A) of Representation of People Act 1951 and IPC section 171 (B), 171 (E) prima facie.

Meanwhile, the Congress is up in arms over allegations of cash for votes against the BJD. It has demanded to probe the allegations by a special team of the Election Commission.

Speaking to the reporters, Congress leader and Jatni MLA, Suresh Routray said, “Odisha Ministers are roaming the Dhamnagar constituency with bags full of cash. Not only cash, but the block and district level government officials are on a mission to influence voters in support of the BJD.”

“A special team of the Election Commission should be formed to make sure that such violations of poll code do not happen again. If the Commission does not take any action on our complaints, then our party workers will snatch away all the cash meant for distribution among voters. And the State government will be responsible for the subsequent violence, if any,” Routray warned.

On the other hand, a delegation of the BJP led by Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan met the Chief Election Commissioner and accused the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) of distributing money to voters under the guise of SHG groups ahead of Dhamnagar bypoll.

Pradhan and Patra uged the CEC to take action against those involved in the money distribution.