The party has asked the EC to conduct repolling in Ghasipura

Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) on Tuesday produced visual 'evidence' to back its allegation that ruling Biju Janata Dal had resorted to massive rigging during the recently concluded Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.

In fact, prior to elections, Congress had moved Orissa High Court seeking its intervention for ensuring free and fair election in Ghasipura of Keonjhar district from where it obtained a video clip showing a person, who was a BJD agent in the booth, forcing people vote for a particular symbol.

“Our worst fear came true. Prithviraj Kuanr, Congress candidate of Ghasipura Assembly seat, had moved Orissa HC prior to the election fearing that goons would take control of polling booths. Subsequently, as per HC direction, he had drawn the attention of Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Odisha and urged him to make necessary arrangement to prevent booth capturing in Ghasipura,” said OPCC President Jayadev Jena addressing a press conference.

Mr. Jena said despite the fact that CEO, Odisha was informed well in advance that 101 booths in the assembly seat were prone to manipulation and rigging, no foolproof arrangement was put in place to foil BJD’s plans.

A video clip was played out in the press conference. A man identified as Lal Bahadur Mallick, poll agent of Higher Education Minister Badri Narayan Patra, who was contesting from the seat, was seen taking electors one by one to EVMs and forcing them to cast votes for a particular party. The rigging happened openly at Booth Number 245 set up at Dantia village.

Mr. Kuanr alleged the rigging by BJD had taken place in all interior pockets of the assembly segment and electors were prevented from electing candidates of their choice. The Congress party has demanded that Election Commission of India should immediately order repoll in Ghasipura Assembly seat and nullify the candidature of Mr. Patra. OPCC President charged that ruling BJD got scared after witnessing anger of people against the party during elections.

“An evil plan has been hatched by the BJD to steal people’s mandate from EVMs stocked in strong-rooms across the State. We are getting numerous complaints that BJD with the help of top officials is trying to tamper with EVMs. We have already brought this to the notice of CEO, who must act,” Mr. Jena said.

He maintained, “we have received reports of attempts of tampering in Mayurbhanj, Dhenkanal and Kendrapara districts. Strong-rooms, which should have been out of bound for everybody, were accessed by senior officers.”

Congress candidate from Sukinda Assembly seat Sarat Rout alleged, “the talk of two-tier, three-tier or four-tier security around strong-rooms is all a hoax.

There is absolutely no security around strong-rooms. In Sukinda area, many strong-rooms have five-inch width wall, which could be knocked down by miscreants without making much effort. As the ruling party has been adopting all types of dirty tricks, security of strong-rooms should be given paramount importance.”

OPCC President urged all non-BJD parties to patrol around strong-rooms to thwart attempts of EVM tampering in their respective regions.