Rashmi Rekha Das

A delegation of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday met Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of the state accusing the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) of distributing money to voters under the guise of meeting of SHG groups as part of its strategies to woo voters ahead of Dhamnagar bypoll. 

The team led by its President Samir Mohanty submitted a complaint to the CEO urging him to take action against those involved in the money distribution. 

Later, BJP held a press meet in which Samir Mohanty said, “BJD blatantly violated model code of conduct during party workers’ meet.  Though media highlighted the issue, the CEO is yet to take a call on it.  During the party workers’ meet a fellow party worker named Jayant Kumar Bhoi made an announcement saying, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will give Rs 1 crore each to every panchayat that votes for his party. He made the statement amidst the presence of Minister Pritiranjan Ghadei, Parliamentarian Sulata Deo and Vice President of Zilla Parishad Tunibala Biswal. The CEO of Odisha had to take the matter into the cognizance of the district administration. But that did not happen.”

“We were waiting for the CEO to initiate suo- motu against the BJD workers for breaching the poll code violation.  However, the CEO kept mum on the issue. Finding no other way, we approached the CEO again and submitted a complaint letter. Also, we submitted testimony of the matter.  We demand the CEO to take action against those who breached the poll code of conduct under Section 171 B, 171 C of Indian Penal Code”, he maintained. 

He went on to add: “If the CEO fails to do justice in 48 hours, we will bring the matter to the notice of the Election Commission of India. Besides, we hope BJD to refrain from illegal practices and help conduct a free fair election at Dhamnagar.” 

Earlier, BJP general secretary Lekhashree Samantasinghar had met Chief Electoral Officer and submitted a written memorandum demanding the immediate arrest of those involved in cash distribution at Dhamnagar Assembly constituency.