PCC chief cries foul, points finger at CEO

Reported by Santosh Jagdev

Bhubaneswar, Apr 21:

Repeating the charges leveled by the BJP, the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Jaydev Jena today accused the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) and his officials of having a nexus with the ruling Biju Janata Dal and alleged that rampant illegalities were committed by the BJD government during the recent polls.

Jena took a potshot at the chief electoral officer by saying the claims of the CEO of having conducted a free and fair election in the state are simply misleading and that she had failed to win the trust of the opposition parties.

Jayadev Jena at the press meet on Tuesday
Jayadev Jena at the press meet on Tuesday

” The Congress has come up with some evidence that clearly reveals the unholy nexus between the ruling party and the State Chief Election Officer’s (CEO) office. The elections have been done in an undemocratic way and the government has misutilized its power and influenced votes by using money and muscle. Even the government machinery has allegedly worked for the ruling party during the elections,” Jena said.

Jena alleged that even after submitting sufficient evidence to the CEO on the ruling party’s involvement in booth rigging and false voting, no action has been taken, which clearly shows a “nexus between them”.

Demanding re-polling in the Ghasipura Assembly seat in Keonjhar district, where election was held in the 2nd phase on April 17, Jena said there are enough evidence- in the form of video clippings- of rigging in the area which have been submitted to CEC, but all in vain.

The PCC chief expressed serious concern over the security of EVMs and said that the ruling party is trying every possible trick to replace and manipulate the EVMs. The strong rooms meant for the EVMs are under the threat of manipulation and alteration all opposition candidates have reasons to be apprehensive.

” That EVMs were found in the vehicles of the key government officials and functionaries of the election machinery in Mahakalpada, Baripada and Bhubaneswar (Middle) exposes their evil designs and illicit nexus with the government, the PCC chief said.

Saying that there are a number instances that raises suspicion in the minds of the people over the safety and security of EVM strong rooms, Jena cited the example of Kamakshyanagar Assembly seat in Dhenkanal district, where the sub-collector had entered the strong room.

“The tainted Collector of Mayurbhanj, who was involved in the election malpractice in the 2009 Athagarh assembly polls, has been made the district election officer (DEO) elections charges. This itself has put the claims of free and fair election under a question mark,” he said.

Jena also expressed surprise over the fact that the election commission has not yet shared any details of the amount of cash seized during the poll process and also about the action taken against the people involved on its website.

Jena said he has asked his party candidates and colleagues to be vigilant and alert over the EVM security measures and to foil any bid to tamper with them.

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