Panchayat polls: Opposition fumes on SEC for not declaring winners’ names

Bhubaneswar: Even as the results of three-tier panchayat elections was declared officially today, Opposition parties in Odisha-Congress and BJP- have questioned the transparency of the State Election Commission over not announcing the names of the winning candidates.

The silence of the Commission did not go well with the Congress and BJP, which alleged the commission being hand in glove with the ruling party. They said the lack of information on winning candidates has given rise to conflicting assessments of the Zilla Parishad results as parties stake baseless claim. The BJD claimed to have 477 out of 848 Zilla Parishad seats while the BJP informed the media that it has won 307 zones.

“Congress leader and Opposition chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati alleged that BJD is benefitting from the silence of SEC. As the commission did not make the winners’ name public, BJD and BJP have got a scope of staking claims which are baseless. This is raises serious concerns on the transparency of SEC in conducting the elections,” Bahinipati said.

BJP also condemned such practice and alleged it is an attempt to manipulate the clear mandate. “We hoped that the Commission would declare the names, but we condemn the silence of the SEC. It is a joint effort to curb the clear mandate,” BJP general secretary Prithiviraj Harichandan said.

On the other hand, a former election commissioner found no obstacle in announcing the names of the victorious candidates. “I do not think that there is any problem if the names are made public. This is just the reports of lower officials. It is a public documents,” former State Election Commissioner Debendra Mishra said.

BJD refuted opposition parties’ allegations citing that it is a symbol of frustration. “Not trusting a constitutional body like the SEC is not fair on the part of the opposition. It symbolises their frustration after defeat,” said BJD spokesperson, Amar Satpathy.