Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Kendrapara/Bhubaneswar, Apr 18:
Angry people in the district headquarter town of Kendrapara in Odisha today heckled the BDO of Marsaghai block SK Pati and ghearoed his official residence after he was found to have stored nearly 20 EVMs at his place without sending it to the strong room at Kendrapara as is mandatory under the provisions under the Election Commission guideline.
Tension continues to persist in the area till last reports came in.
According to reports, following information that the Marsaghai BDO who stays in the LIC colony here was about to send nearly 20 EVMs in a vehicle local Congress and BJP workers rushed to his residence and demanded to know why the EVMs had not been sent to Kendrapara last night and stored at his place.
The party workers who suspected that these EVMs were meant to be used for manipulating votes in Mahakalpada reportedly manhandled the BDO and even attacked the vehicle, leading to tension in the area. The police then reached the spot and is guarding the vehicle loaded with the EVMs.
The district collector had issued instructions to all polling officials that all the EVMs whether used or unused, would be sent to teh EVM strongroom in Kendrapara. In fact the district administration had told reporters last night that all EVMs had reached Kendrapara and had been stored in the strong room.
When asked about the incident, the chief electoral officer (CEO) Odisha Dr Mona Sharma told reporters that an inquiry through the district collector will be ordered after specific complaints in this matter reach her office.
The matter assumes significance because Mahakalpada Assembly constituency has been in focus after veteran leader Bijoy Mohapatra, a major rival of BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik, chose to contest the seat on a BJP ticket. There have been allegations that the ruling party used the local administration and police to ensure Mohapatra’s defeat.