Ramakanta Biswas

The State Election Commission (SEC), Odisha on Thursday directed the Bolangir Collector to ensure that no contender for the post of Sarpanch is prevented from filing nomination in Bileisarada gram Panchayat in the district. 

The directive came in the backdrop of reports of alleged auction of the Sarpanch post for Rs 44,000 at Bileisarda village under Puintala block of Bolangir district.

Aditional District Magistrate (ADM) Mahendra Mohapatra and Puintala Block Development Officer (BDO) conducted inquiry into the violation of Model Code of Conduct and submitted report to district Collector Chanchal Rana. 

"In inviting a reference to your letter on the subject cited above, I am directed to say that the Commission after careful consideration directs that it should be ensured that no willing person is obstructed/dissuaded from filing nomination for the post of Sarpanch of Bileisarada G.P," RN Sahu, secretary to the SEC wrote to the Bolangir Collector. 

Sources said a Gram Sabha was organised by residents of three villages- Bandanakata, Kasurpali and Bileisarda- at Bileisarda Jagannath temple on January 14 where Sushant Kumar Chhatria reportedly won the bid for the Sarpanch post by pledging to donate Rs 44,000 for the development of the temple.

Speaking about the inquiry report, the district Collector said, “It has been reported in the inquiry that a Gram Sabha was organised for the alleged auction. However, there are different opinions regarding the money transaction.”

“Free and fair election will be conducted at Bileisarda Gram Panchayat and any eligible candidate could file nominations for the forthcoming polls,” the Collector added.

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