Whip violation: BJD to move SEC against Keonjhar councilors

Bhubaneswar/Keonjhar: Nine BJD councilors of Keonjhar Municipality may have to pay heavy price for violating party whip by voting in favor of a no-confidence motion against municipality chairperson as the ruling regional party is considering to file petition before the State Election Commission (SEC) to disqualify the elected members by anti-defection law.

“The anti-defection legislation, which was passed in Odisha Assembly recently, is in force after getting Governor’s assent before December 28. Now, the State Election Commission is the only authority to initiate action. We will move to the Commission”, Urban Development minister Puspendra Singhdeo said.

On the other hand, the councilors have threatened to seek legal assistance as they had already resigned from the party earlier.

“We had sent our resignation letter to party chief and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik through fax in last January. If any action is initiated, we will move to the court”, dissident councilor Sushree Sangeeta Nanda said.

Notably, the BJD had suffered a huge embarrassment in Keonjhar civic body when nine of its party councilors voted against its chairperson Meena Majhi even as the party had issued a whip on December 27 asking them to remain absent in the no-trust motion meeting.

Fifteen of the 21 councilors went against Majhi out of which nine from BJD and six from the Congress party. In the 21-member Kendujhargarh Municipality, 14 members are from BJD, six from Congress and one from BJP.

It is worth mentioning that the chairperson post of the municipality was for unreserved category. However, as per the directive of the Chief Minister, Meena Majhi was handed over the chairperson’s post. But dissatisfied with the functioning of Majhi, the BJD councillors had lodged a complaint with the DRDA Project Director and demanded a no-confidence motion against her in writing.