**Bhubaneswar: ** While the by-poll epicenter is Bijepur assembly segment in far-flung western Odisha’s Bargarh parliamentary constituency, its tremors, jolts and aftershocks are being felt in the State capital city here as both ruling BJD and its electoral bête noire BJP are trading charges and hell-bent on training their guns at each other every passing day. Also the Odisha Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) is being petitioned with scores of complaints demanding stringent actions.
Led by Barabati-Cuttack MLA and BJD spokesperson Debasish Samantray, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s party submitted memorandum. They are alleging gross violation of model code of conduct by Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
Before meeting the CEO and submitting their petition, the BJD leaders resorted to sloganeering before the Odisha Chief Electoral Office shouting, “BJP’s model code of conduct violation won’t be allowed. Dharmendra Pradhan Down Down.”
On the other hand, BJP led by its Odisha unit vice-president Sameer Mohanty questioned Bargarh Police’s credential and intention. The irate saffron party delegation alleged partiality and political vendetta.
Lodging his complaint with the CEO, Sameer Mohanty burst, “Bargarh Police conducted raid last night while Odisha BJP legislature party leader K.V. Singhdeo and Padampur MLA Pradeep Purohit were present in the local BJP office. What’s the intention of the police?”
In his media reactions soon after the meeting, Mohanty said, “We came here to lodge our protest and complaint against the way the Bargarh police administration barged into the Gaisilat BJP office and raided it without search warrant last night in the very presence of Legislature Party leader K.V. Singhdeo, MLA Pradeep Purohit and BJP workers including lady workers. Earlier, the house of BJP Yuva Morcha president Pritish Bohidar, son of prestigious personality Sirish Bohidar, was also raided without any search warrant. In both the places, the police returned empty hands. This proves that BJD is trying to intimidate the BJP workers misusing police. Intention is to sabotage today’s Smriti Irani’s campaign programme also attended by Union Minister’s Dharmendra Pradhan and Jual Oram.”
“Now the Bargarh district administrative machinery is under the clutch of Odisha CEO. Padmapur SDPO Laxmi Narayan Panda without properly enquring into the sezure of Rs 40 lakhs is claiming that it was being brought into Bijepur from Raipur. Thus, we have also come today to enquire from the CEO about why no action has being taken against the SDPO till date.”
BJD spokesperson Debasish Samantray in his media reactions said, “Today on behalf of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), we have submitted our complaints with the Odisha Chief Electoral Officer. Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan is openely violating the model code of conduct. The way Rs 40 lakhs has been seized by the police there, those people arrested are having direct link with the BJP. The link of the Rs 10 lakh seized should also be enquired into.”
“The way Dharmendra Pradhan is misusing the petrol pump proprietors and the cash being collected at the petrol pump counters is being used in the election. The petrol pumps are stretching from Chhattisgarh’s Raipur to Odisha. Whatever cash they are earning at their counters are being invested in the Bijepur election,” the BJD spokesperson alleged.
He also complained, “Despite being not in the star campaigner list of BJP, newly-joined Odia actree Aparajita is being flown to helicopter from here to Bijepur and using her in the campaigning. The expenses borne should be shown in the candidate’s account. Even the party is not submitting its day to day election expenditure with the Election Commission. This is evident that Dharmendra Pradhan is misuing his post and power and trying to hoodwink even the Election Commission.”