Odishatv Bureau

New Delhi/Bhubaneswar: Alleging misuse of State machinery in bypoll bound Bijepur Assembly constituency, a delegation of BJP comprising Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, MP Bhupinder Yadav, Odisha in-charge Arun Singh and national spokesperson Sambit Patra today met the Election Commission (EC) in New Delhi demanding a free and fair by-election.

In a four-page memorandum submitted to the Commission, the saffron party leaders sought deployment of Central Para-Military Forces in the Assembly segment to maintain law and order.

They alleged misuse of State machinery including announcements of funds to the tune of around Rs 1500 crore without floating any tenders in the district by the ruling BJD.

"The State machinery is being used for Bijepur bypoll. The offices of SP and Collector have become BJD party offices in Bargarh. The BJD-government has sanctioned Rs 1500 crore without floating any tenders only to utilise it for the election. The local BDO is working to ensure that the funds are utilised in the interest of BJD while the Collector is supervising it. Moreover, CM's private secretary VK Pandian is directly monitoring BJD's situation there," Patra said.

He further alleged that Labour Minister Sushant Singh and his brother are busy hiring goons from outside to terrorise voters while SP, SDPO and local police are cooperating with them in spreading hooliganism instead of maintaining law and order.

BJD, however, termed BJP's allegation as initial symptoms of a poll debacle. "He is from a party whose national president is facing several criminal cases. They have gotten nervous in fear of defeat," Labour Minister Sushant Singh said.