Special Correspondent

Seeks ban on sale of liquor for one week

  • 43,750 booths identified as sensitive or highly sensitive
  • 'Congress also resorting to unfair means to win polls'

    BHUBANESWAR: The State unit of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Tuesday severely criticised the ruling Biju Janata Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party alliance for allegedly fighting the ensuing three-tier panchayat polls by heavily banking on money and muscle power and supplying liquor in the rural areas to influence the voters.

    At a press conference here, Secretary of the CPI (M) Orissa State Committee Janardan Pati urged the State Election Commission to impose a ban on sale of liquor for seven days before the polls are conducted in different phases in the State.

    "While the ruling parties had failed to ensure availability of drinking water in rural interiors of the State, they were now distributing liquor pouches free among the people to subvert the democratic process," Mr. Pati alleged.

    Expressing concern over number of sensitive booths in the State, Mr. Pati said lawlessness was growing in the rural pockets with the candidates of both the ruling parties contesting against each other in a majority of Zilla Parishad seats.

    The authorities should immediately arrest those who were creating tension in localities.

    Of the total 87,542 polling booths in the State, 43,750 booths have been identified by the Election Commission as sensitive or highly sensitive.

    The CPI (M) leader also blamed the administration of different districts for "siding with the ruling alliance, particularly the Biju Janata Dal" headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The Election Commission should ensure that the district administrations remain impartial for free and fair conduct of the polls, Mr. Pati said.

    The Opposition Congress was also applying unfair means to woo the electorate, Mr. Pati charged, while adding that if the situation goes out of hand in the coming days the district administrations concerned should be held responsible for the same.

    Fighting corruption

    The CPI (M) was fighting the polls by highlighting the rampant corruption that was in the Panchayati Raj institutions and neglect of the poor and needy, Mr. Pati said.