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Pradeep Singh

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday moved the State Election Commission raising concerns over the non-supply of copy of Ballot Papers’ Account to the polling agents after the first phase poll ended on Wednesday.

Odisha BJP chief Samir Mohanty said, "Form no 11 (A), which consists of details of the total ballot papers issued and used, was to be submitted after the voting was concluded and it's a statutory provision. But in around 80 percent areas, where polling was conducted, it was not given, stating that there was no instruction from the Election Commission to that effect.

The BJP also urged the Commission to immediately issue guidelines related to the strong room where the ballot boxes will be kept after the polls, till the beginning of counting.

Rabindra Nath Sahu, Secretary to the State Election Commission, said that the instructions have already been issued to submit the Form no 11 ballot paper account from the 2nd phase onwards.

Later, the SEC also issued a notice that read: In view of the demands for copy of the Ballot Paper Account it is clarified as follows: 

- A copy of the Ballot Paper Account in Form No.11 shall be either xeroxed or copied in hand by the Presiding Officers and the copy shall be handed over to all the Polling Agents of Zilla Parishad candidates present. 

- Polling Agents of other posts may be asked to put their signature on the backside of the Ballot Paper Account as usual, after making note of the number of votes polled in that booth. 

Meanwhile, the BJP chief alleged massive irregularities and misuse of government machinery during the first phase of Panchayat elections. "We have also submitted evidence before the Election Commission on how the government machinery was misused at some places in favour of the ruling party in the State. Presiding officers also worked as if they were affiliated to a particular party," Mohanty said.

"Brahmagiri, Keonjhar, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Kendrapara other districts witnessed violence during polls yesterday. The Commission has been apprised about the same too and we have demanded stern action against those involved in such activities," he added.

Responding to the allegations, BJD MP Sasmit Patra said that the BJP turned violent during the elections. "They (BJP) have become more violent during this ZP election as, after the 1st phase polling, they are already clear now that their party is going to lose the election."

He further alleged that the BJP was trying to pass the buck on the BJD after meeting with ‘failures’.

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