Bhubaneswar: The ruling BJD in Odisha and the opposition BJP lodged Thursday a complaint against each with the visiting Election Commission of India (ECI) team.
A six-member ECI team led by Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa and comprising deputy election commissioner Chandrabhusan Kumar, director general (Expenditure) DK Sharma, ADG (PIB) Sefali Saran, director Nikhil Kumar and secretary Rakesh Kumar are in Odisha to review the poll preparations in the state.
BJD and the BJP levelled the allegations against each other when their representatives met the ECI team.
BJD leader Amar Patnaik, who led his party’s delegation said, “We have urged the ECI to keep a strict vigil on petrol pumps which are being used to stock and transfer cash during elections. This has happened during previous by-polls.”
Patnaik said the regional party has also drawn the attention of the ECI towards the violence allegedly perpetrated by the BJP in the by-poll at Bijepur Assembly segment in Bargarh district.
BJP leader Bhrugu Buxipatra alleged that the ruling BJD was using state government employees for their party work. “We fear that the state government has raised Biju Yuva Vahini (BYV) to rig polls. The ECI has been urged to keep a tab on the BYV,” Buxipatra informed.
Senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra after meeting the ECI team told reporters that the party has talked on a number of issues.
“We have drawn (the) attention of the ECI towards the blatant misuse of government machineries by the state’s BJD government and Centre’s BJP government,” stated Mishra. “We have also sought protection from the ECI to ensure free and fair elections,” added Mishra. He also alleged that both the BJD and BJP were using money, muscle and government power to motivate voters.
Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Narayana Reddy said that his party had urged the poll body to use ballot papers as EVMs have ‘lost their credibility’.
Later, the ECI team reviewed the preparations for the upcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections with district election officers, Police IGs, SPs and three revenue divisional commissions of Odisha.
The ECI team also conducted discussions with the senior officers of the central para military forces.