Congress threatens court challenge against ‘forged’ nomination withdrawal

Pattamundai/Bhubaneswar: A Congress team led by senior leader Ganeswar Behera today moved the State Election Commission demanding transfer of Pattamundai BDO and election officer over the alleged forged withdrawal of nomination of two dalit candidates in Penthapal panchayat.

“If he (BDO) is not transferred, we will move court and talk to common people”, Behera said, adding the candidature of the dalit women-Gayatri Sethy and Pramila Mallik- should remain valid and the guilty should be awarded punishment, who withdrew the nomination papers by forging the signatures of the candidates.

Senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra too alleged that candidature of opposition parties’ candidates is deliberately cancelled to help contestants of the ruling party win in the panchayat polls.

“Without any substantial proof, names of opposition party candidates are declared invalid. If this is the case why the poll is conducted? asked Mishra.

On the other hand, Election Commission secretary Rabindra Sahu said the matter is being looked into. “We have received the complaint from Congress and the report from district Collector and observer on the allegation. Action will be taken after the report and complaint are examined”, he said.

Meanwhile, MLA Kishore Tarai feigned ignorance about the issue. “He/she, who withdrew the nomination and BDO must be aware about the matter. I have no idea on it. The Election Commission is investigating the incident. The allegation is false and baseless. If Congress brings some allegation, it should provide the proof”, the legislator said.

Reacting on the charge that attempt was made to ensure victory of his wife in Penthapal panchayat, he said there is no mention in any where that the wife of a legislator can not contest the poll.

Earlier in the morning, Congress activists blocked the road near Penthapala panchayat by burning tyres on road. They stage demonstration against the local BJD MLA.

Tension cropped up after Gayatri Sethy and Pramila Mallik, who had filed nominations from Penthapala panchayat samity in Pattamundai block, were declared to have withdrawn their nomination papers.

Following the matter came to fore, Congress activists had gheraoed Pattamundai block office and claimed that the two dalit candidates never applied for withdrawal. Senior Congress leader Ganeswar Behera had earlier alleged that the election officers in charge of conducting polls have formed an unholy alliance with the BJD to ensure the victory of candidates who owe their allegiance to the ruling party.

Behera had claimed that there was a “deep conspiracy” as Babita Tarai, spouse of the BJD MLA, was in the fray from Penthapala and with both of her rivals not being in the contest anymore, she was poised to be declared won unopposed.