Pradeep Pattanayak

Disgruntled after finding their names missing in the electoral lists, the residents of five wards of Mohana Panchayat in Gajapati district locked up the Election Officer inside the Panchayat office and staged a sit-in outside it on Thursday. 

As per reports, scores of people of five wards under Mohana panchayat had found that the voter lists don’t have their names. The erroneous list has excluded many from contesting the elections, resulting in resentment among the villagers. 

The angry villagers on Thursday visited the Panchayat office to meet the Election Officer regarding their problem. After not receiving any satisfactory answers from the officer, they locked up him before staging a demonstration, demanding inclusion of their names in the list. 

While speaking to journalists from inside the office, Election Officer Ajay Pradhan said he was bearing the brunt of people’s ire. “They came and asked me why their names aren’t there in the voter lists. After going through the lists, I found it out that their allegation is genuine. They locked me up after I failed to give them any satisfactory answers,” Pradhan added. 

When asked, a protestor Pramilla Mallik said they had cast their votes in the last elections. But this time, the lists don’t have their names. “We have even met concerned officers on the issue, but to no avail. We fear we may lose our voting rights. This is why we have locked up the Election Officer and will continue our agitation till our issue is addressed,” she rued.