BJD accuses Chief Electoral Officer of acting under BJP pressure

Bhubaneswar: Coming down heavily on the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Odisha, the ruling-BJD on Monday alleged that the official is not impartial to all the parties.

Briefing the media here, BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra said the CEO Surendra Kumar has stopped the disbursal of money to small and marginal farmers under the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme as the official has been acting under pressure of BJP.

“In the second phase, money under the KALIA scheme should have been disbursed among farmers by March 31, 2019. But the CEO under pressure from BJP has stopped the release of the money citing model code of conduct. People of the State know how the official is doing partiality. The party will move the Chief Election Commission seeking his intervention into the matter,” said Patra.

In its reaction, BJP said the BJD’s allegations on KALIA scheme are baseless. “When the CEO stopped implementation of the scheme as alleged, how come campaign vehicles of the scheme are being allowed to ply. Data show the State government is yet to identify the beneficiaries of the KALIA scheme,” pointed out Golak Mohapatra, BJP spokesperson.

On Sunday, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan alleged that the BJD-led government has cheated the people of Odisha by neither making adequate budgetary provision nor having a proper beneficiary list. He further added that while KALIA scheme is a welfare scheme, the ruling-BJD is using it as a campaign tool to grab votes ahead of the elections.