Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has brought serious allegations of money distribution and violation of model code of conduct against Biju Janata Dal (BJD) candidate Umakanta Samantaray from Bramhagiri Assembly seat in Puri on Thursday.

As per the allegation by the BJP, Samantaray conducted a meeting with government employees like CPRs and MBKs of as many as 11 panchayats under Puri Sadar block at a Kalyan Mandap near Atharnala in Puri. BJP further alleged that money was distributed to woo them in favour of the ruling party. The party also stated that the act is completely illegal as per the model election code of conduct that is currently effective in the State.

Moreover, Puri District Juva Morcha President Jayant Das alleged that the meeting was conducted to prepare a strategy on how to influence voters by distributing money among them in the constituency. Das further alleged that money was brought by BJD workers for distribution. However, they managed to flee from the spot as the flying squad didn’t turn up at the right time despite receiving the complaint about the matter much earlier, he alleged.

“BJD candidate Umakanta Samantaray hadn’t come to the spot himself. However, his wife and the district BJD president were present in the meeting. We demand strong action against the BJD candidate for the violation of model election code of conduct,” said BJP worker Bahuda Pradhan.

“We reached the spot and found some government employees in uniforms along with some BJD leaders present in the meeting. When the flying squad reached there, they all fled the spot. They are claiming the event as a birthday party. If it was a birthday party, they must show the necessary permission for it as the election code of conduct has been effective in the State,” said Puri District Juva Morcha Secretary, Sangram Parida.

“BJD workers were distributing money among government employees to use them in their propaganda. Even the candidate’s wife was present in the meeting. As the flying squad reached the spot one hour late, it helped the violators flee from the spot,” he added.

However, BJD Puri District President Dibakar Patra refuted the allegations by the BJP and termed it as baseless. As per him, a birth day party was organised at the mandap.

“The allegations of the BJP are completely false and baseless. A cultural event was taking place at the mandap on the occasion of a friend’s birthday. The allegations of the Opposition party are completely false and baseless,” said Patra.

Meanwhile, all the visuals of the meeting spot have been submitted before Puri Collector. The Collector has assured that proper action will be taken against the erring officials if found guilty following an investigation into the incident after checking all the visuals minutely.