Poll bungling: High Court rejects minister’s plea

Bhubaneswar: In a major setback to Food, Supplies and Consumer Welfare minister Sanjay Das Burma, the Orissa High Court today rejected his plea to quash a petition of Congress leader Lalatendu Bidyadhar aka Lulu Mohapatra relating to poll irregularities in 2014 general elections.

The Congress leader, who had lost to Das Burma by a narrow margin of 1,341 votes in Brahmagiri Assembly segment in Puri district, had alleged in his petition that the entire process of election and counting in the constituency were not done in proper manner.

Mohapatra had urged the court to quash the election of the BJD leader and order for a by-election charging that widespread rigging of votes in several booths of the constituency were reported. He had questioned the BJD leader’s win in the elections held in April.

Earlier, the High Court had admitted a similar petition challenging the election of minister Badrinarayan Patra who had won from Ghasipura segment of Keonjhar district.

Besides Das Burma, Laxmipur MLA Kailash Chandra Kulesika of Congress and Soro legislator Parshuram Dhada of BJD were also issued notices by the court as three separate petitions had challenged their elections to the State Assembly.