Nomination withdrawal row: Pattamundai BDO shunted out

Bhubaneswar: After much hue and cry, the State Election Commission (SEC) on Wednesday ordered the Panchayati Raj department to transfer Pattamundai BDO Prashant Rout for his dubious role in the forged withdrawal of nominations of two dalit candidates in Penthapal panchayat in Kendrapara district.

The Commission also asked the Kendrapara Collector to hand over the charge of Panchayat election in the district to the district sub-collector and confirmed that the election will be conducted as per schedule.

“We have received a communication from SEC to keep away Rout from the election process. District sub-Collector Kanhu Charan Dhir will be in charge of the eleciton in the panchayat,” Kendrapara collector Muralidhar Mallik said.

Meanwhile the SEC said that the appellants can move courts in the matter if they want.

“If the candidates who brought allegations of their nomination withdrawal, wish they can file petition in court this regard,” SEC secretary Rabindranath Sahu said.

Reacting on the development, the ruling BJD which was targetted by the Opposition BJP and Congress in the matter, said everyone should respect the decision of the Commission.

“The matter was forwarded to the State Election Commission and it has taken the decision. The party  has nothing to do in the matter,” BJD spokesperson Pratap Keshari Deb said.

Gayatri Sethy and Pramila Mallik, two dalit candidates had filed nominations from Penthapala panchayat samity in Pattamundai block, were declared to have withdrawn from the contest even as they had never applied for withdrawal.

The Congress party in the block had moved the Election Commission allegeing that 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.

Senior Congress leader Ganeswar Behera along with some party activists had moved the Commission yesterday demanding shifting of BDO and action against guilty.

Behera had claimed that there was a “deep conspiracy” as Babita Tarai, spouse of BJD MLA Kishore Tarai, 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.

}