Pradeep Pattanayak

A delegation of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leaders on Wednesday called on the State Election Commission, demanding an investigation and action against the State unit of the Bharaitya Janata Pary (BJP) for resorting to violence during the ongoing Panchayat polls. 

The conch party leaders alleged that they have taken up the poll violence issue with the SEC for as many as eight times but no action has been taken so far. 

“They (BJP supporters) have been abducting our agents, throwing away ballot boxes, terrorising poling staff, intimidating and hurling abuses at voters. We demand stern action against those who are involved in these incidents which are a clear cut violation of model code of conduct,” said BJD MLA Ananta Narayan Jena. 

The BJD’s arch rival in the State, the saffron party was quick in retaliating against the former. Registering displeasure over poll management, State BJP leaders staged a sit-in at the State Election Commission office on Wednesday. They alleged that the government officers were extending all possible help to the ruling party during the ongoing Panchayat elections. In instances of violence at booths, booth capturing and attack on their agents, neither district administration nor are the police coming to their rescue even after their intervention was sought, they alleged.  

“They (the ruling BJD party members) have reduced the Panchayat polls to a farce. Government officials and employees are being forced to campaign for that party. Despite registering complaints along with proof of the blatant violation, the SEC is yet to take any action,” alleged BJP leader, Surath Biswal. 

At the same time, the State unit of the grand old party Congress launched a scathing attack on the ruling BJD. Congress leaders alleged at a presser that none other than the ruling party has been fermenting violence in violation of the model code of conduct. Starting from the district Collectors to Block Development Officers (BDOs), all are working like agents of the ruling party, they alleged. They urged the SEC to be more active and alert in ensuring security of strong rooms.  

“The State Election Commissioner seems to be helpless.  By now, the people of the State are well aware how a helpless SEC is managing the elections,” said Padmakar Guru, Congress spokesperson. 

However, the SEC is yet to come up with its reaction over the allegations levelled by the three main political parties in the State.

Meanwhile, a delegation of Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) met Odisha DGP Sunil Bansal today. The delegation led by former minister Manmohan Samal submitted a memorandum alleging inaction of police over poll violence and attack on journalists.

Samal alleged that police are not registering their complaint as they are in opposition. “We met the DGP and informed him about the activities of his department. In lower-level police is working as BJD workers,” he said.

He added, “We hope DGP will conduct an inquiry and take appropriate action.”