**Bhubaneswar: ** Alleging that the petrol pumps and gas agencies in Odisha are being used as cash hoarding and distribution points during 2019 elections under the instruction from Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) today lodged its complaint with Odisha Chief Electoral Officer (CEO).
Submitting a memorandum, BJD urged the CEO for ensuring strict video surveillance of petrol pumps and gas agencies in Odisha for being used as ‘cash hoarding’ and ‘distribution points’ during 2019 elections allegedly under the instruction from Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
The BJD memorandum highlights, “This is to bring to your kind notice that during the Bijepur by-electIons in Odisha, huge amounts of cash was seized from Petrol Pump owners and their managers under your supervision and monitoring. This highlighted the rampant misuse of Petrol Pumps and potentially Gas agencies as cash hoarding points and distribution points as well during the election.”
“This has become a new low in Odisha politics after leader Dharmendra Pradhan has become Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister. He is well-known for his misuse of Petroleum companies, their organisational structure and processes as well as its officers and Petrol Pumps/Gas agencies for his political motives,” BJD alleges.
It has further alleged, “With the advent of the 2019 General and Assembly Elections in Odisha, this continuing threat is real and true.
Since the Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister is Dharmendra Pradhan and his earlier antecedents in using Petrol Pumps for cash transfers has been exposed in Bjepur by elections, therefore Petrol Pumps and Gas agencies under direction of Mr Pradhan being used cash hoarding and distribution points in this election is also real and true.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan seeks to undertake such illegalities and violate all norms of democratic and electoral ethos to fight an election which was clearly seen during Bijepur by-elections.”
“During the Bijepur by-election as well, despite our repeated complaints no action was undertaken against Mr Pradhan and the elements undertaking these illegalities. We hope the same will not be repeated in this election and all wrong-doings and malafide intentions would be curbed by ensuring strict video surveillance on all Petrol Pumps and Gas agencies across the state,” BJD has urged, concluding, “We hope you will ensure strict surveillance and monitoring of all Petrol Pumps and Gas agencies in this regard and provide the voters of Odisha a free and fair election.”
Despite concerted efforts, BJP’s counter reactions could not be availed by OMMCOM NEWS till the filing of this news.
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