Himansu Shekhar Rout

Villagers of Kaunripatana under Bolagarh block in Khordha district asserted that the allegations against BJP MLA candidate Prashant Jagdev that he toppled an EVM during polling on Saturday is politically-motivated and a conspiracy.  

According to some voters who witnessed the situation, the presiding officer at the booth misbehaved with many voters and did the same with the MLA.

They alleged that as Jagdev opposed the bad conduct of the presiding officer, another person inside the booth toppled the EVM by kicking it down. It was a conspiracy against the MLA and the CCTV footage of the booth should be examined, they said.

Balaram Nayak, one of the voters present at the booth, said, "Some people abused him and objected to why the MLA should be allowed to vote first. When the MLA candidate was near the Lok Sabha EVM, the EVM of the Assembly seat was toppled. Jagdev did not topple it and he is innocent.”   

Another voter Sunil Nayak said, "Some voters were muttering abuses at the booth. Then Jagdev warned them before going to cast his vote for the MP candidate in an EVM. Some people linked to the ruckus-creating youths toppled the other EVM and falsely blamed the MLA.”

Following the allegations, police detained the MLA. Protesting the move, MLA Prashant Jagdev staged a demonstration at the Bolagarh Police station demanding inspection of CCTV camera footage of Kaunripatna booth. 

BJD seeks ECI action against Jagdev

On the other hand, the BJD approached the Chief Electoral Officer over the issue. 

BJD leader Sasmit Patra said, "We appeal to the Election Commission of India to immediately arrest Jagdev. He openly broke the EVM and beat the presiding officer.”  

As for the incident, Chief Electoral Officer, Nikunja Bihari Dhal said, “I spoke to the SP about it. He (MLA) has been taken into police custody. Police are waiting for the FIR. Appropriate action will be taken after an FIR is lodged and taking inputs from the sector officer and the presiding officer of the booth. The law will definitely take its own course.”

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