Bhubaneswar, Feb 14 (PTI) The ruling BJD in Odisha and the opposition BJP Thursday lodged 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) D K Sharma, ADG (PIB) Sefali Saran, Director Nikhil Kumar and secretary Rakesh Kumar are in Odisha to review the poll preparations in the state.
The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (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-poll.” Patnaik said the regional 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 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 said.
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 machineries by the state’s BJD government and Centre’s BJP government.” “We have also sought protection from the ECI to ensure a 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.
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”.
“We have also urged the ECI to stop groups like the Biju Yuva Vahini,” Reddy said.
Later, the ECI team reviewed the poll preparedness with the District Election Officers, Police IGs, SPs and three revenue divisional commissions of the state.
The ECI team also held discussions with the senior officers of the central para military forces.
Sources said the ECI team was also scheduled to discuss the law and order situation with the chief secretary, DGP, Law secretary and Central government officials on Friday.
Odisha Assembly elections are also due along with the Lok Sabha polls.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.