Opposition cries foul over distribution of free mobiles to Biju Yuva Vahini volunteers

Bhubaneswar: After the BJP accused a few private companies of showing undue favours to the State Government by distributing free mobile phones among Biju Yuva Vahini (BYV) volunteers and brought the matter to the notice of Governor, ED and Vigilance, controversy in connection with the issue has now created new problems for the State’s ruling-BJD.

Tension erupted at Bhogarai block in Balasore on Thursday after irate locals locked up some BJD workers and police officials as an altercation broke out between two groups during distribution of free mobile phones to BYV volunteers. Even as the block officials tried to pacify the matter, they were also roughed up by the angry locals.

The incident has now fueled the allegations leveled by the Opposition parties who have now come down hard on the ruling party.

The BJP alleged that mining companies like Triveni Earth Movers, Sirajuddin who have been enjoying undue privileges from the State Government have now come forward to help the ruling party by distributing mobile phones for its promotion.

“Lakhs of mobile phones estimated to cost around Rs 750 crore are being distributed to BJD volunteers which is very unfortunate,” said party Vice President Sameer Mohanty.

Senior Congress leader Ramachandra Khuntia has alleged, “BJD is distributing free mobiles to its party volunteers and instead collecting funds from mining companies to pay off the cost. We demand a free and fair investigation into the matter and action against the guilty.”

However, BJD has played down the charges leveled by the Opposition. Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera said, “The Opposition should bring forward the allegations with enough proof because it looks like they are politicizing the matter. BJP workers and leaders have never dedicated themselves for the welfare of the people of State.”

It may be noted that Tribeni Earth Movers has procured mobile phones worth Rs 25.20 lakh for Balasore district, Sirajuddin and Co has procured mobiles with a total cost of Rs 18.64 lakh for Bolangir. Not only these, Maa Uttarayani Roller and Flour Millers, Aryan Mines and Trading Corporation and Kalyani Enterprises among several other companies which have reportedly procured mobile phones for free distribution to BYV members.