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Chief Minister refers horsetrading issue to EC

Bhubaneswar: With ruling BJD coming under attack over alleged horse-trading during last year`s Rajya Sabha polls, state government on Saturday referred the matter to the Election Commission for appropriate action.

"The matter relating to Rajya Sabha elections 2010 has been sent to the Election Commission of India for appropriate action," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told reporters.

After examination by the Home and Law departments, it was decided to refer the matter to the EC, he said.

Amidst mounting attack on ruling BJD from opposition parties over the "horse-trading" issue, the chief minister had asked the home department to thoroughly examine the matter about a week ago, official sources said.

The chief minister had initially sought more time to act on the matter while reacting to alleged involvement of two ministers in horse-trading.

Besides the other two, the BJD`s third candidate in last year`s Rajya Sabha election won after three opposition MLAs — two from Congress and one from BJP — abstained during voting, triggering the horsetrading allegation.

Congress suspended Shibaji Majhi from the party and demanded a CBI probe into the matter and resignation of two ministers and the chief minister for allegedly adopting fradulent means to win the polls.

BJP also suspended its MLA Bhimsen Choudhury from the party a year ago after horse-trading slur surfaced.

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