Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, June 3:
Exactly three days after odishasuntimes.com blew the lid off the worst kept secret about glaring discrepancies between the number of votes cast and polled, a panicky office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Odisha has done a shoddy – and laughable – attempt at cover up by removing the pages on its website, ceoorissa.nic.in, showing the damning polling details altogether!
In two reports published on May 31 and June 2 (read the reports by clicking on the links below the story), the premier English news portal in the state had shown glaring discrepancies between the number of votes shown as cast on the CEO, Odisha website and the aggregated votes polled as shown on the Election Commission of India (ECI) site eciresults.nic.in. The difference between the two sets of figures has in certain cases been a whopping 16, 000+ (Rajgangpur Assembly constituency), enough to change the outcome of the election in most constituencies.
Caught in a cleft stick, the CEO, Odisha has done something that reminds one of the crucial coal scam files that mysteriously went missing during the UPA government’s rule last year. But the problem with this shoddy exercise is that it merely confirms the suspicion that it has something to hide.
Asked about the missing pages, Joint CEO JP Das said he had no idea how it happened.
“It could have been due to a technical error. I will find out and let you know when I reach office tomorrow,” he told this reporter over phone.
Technical fault or not, odishasuntimes.com was apprehending precisely such a response from the cornered CEO, Odisha. That is why it has taken the precaution of getting print outs of the pages that were available on its website till yesterday.
The sensational revelation laid bare by the portal has infused new life into a moribund Opposition still smarting under the crushing defeat it suffered at the hands of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) with many losing candidates preparing to challenge the results both in the ECI and in the courts.
PCC president Jayadev Jena told OST he will file a petition with the ECI tomorrow drawing its attention to the wide divergences in the voting figures and asking for a repoll.
The CEO, Odisha’s childish act has given further ammunition to the opposition.
“The removal of the polling data from the website confirms the fact that there is something really fishy about the whole affair. It has proved that the CEO is trying to hide the fact. The matter should be inquired thoroughly since it raises suspicion about possible EVM manipulation,” said Sameer Mohanty, spokesperson for BJP.
Mohanty’s party colleague and fellow spokesperson Sajjan Sharma was more forthright. “The CEO’s act has conclusively proved what we have been suspecting all along; that the votes have been manipulated,” he said.
( also see : http://odishasuntimes.com/59447/goof-odisha-vote-count-will-ceo-explain/ and http://odishasuntimes.com/58940/glaring-discrepancies-voting-figures-put-ceo-odisha-dock/)