The ruling Biju Janta Dal in Odisha and the opposition Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) on Thursday filed a complaint against each other with the visiting Election Commission of India (ECI) team that was in the state to stock poll preparedness.
A six-member Poll Panel team led by Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa along with five deputy election commissioners are in Odisha to review the poll preparations in the state ahead of the Lok Sabha Polls 2019.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik‘s Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leveled the allegations against each other when their delegations met the ECI team in Odisha.
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 the previous by-poll.”
Amar Patnaik said his party has also drawn the attention of the ECI towards the violence being allegedly perpetrated by the BJP in the by-poll at Bijepur assembly segment in Bargarh district.
BJP leader Bhrugu Buxipatra, who led the Delegation of the saffron Party 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 added.
Other Political Players of the state including Congress and CPI also met ECI. Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Narayana Reddy said that his party had requested the poll body to use ballot papers as EVMs have “lost their credibility”.
Senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra after meeting the ECI team told reporters, “We have drawn (the) attention of the ECI towards the blatant misuse of government machinery and state apparatus by the state’s BJD government and Centre’s BJP government.”
“We have also sought protection from the ECI to ensure free and fair elections,” he added. Mishra also alleged that both the BJD and BJP were using money, muscle and government power to motivate voters.
The Six Member ECI Team also met District Election Officers, Police IGs, SPs and three revenue divisional commissions of the state to review the Poll Preparations.
Odisha State Assembly elections are also slated and will be clubbed with the General Elections to the Lok Sabha due for April-May.