Bhubaneswar, Dec 13:
A delegation of the Congress party today met Governor Dr S C Jamir and submitted a memorandum to him seeking the immediate removal of the state election commissioner for allegedly favouring the ruling party and failing to take appropriate action against BJD ministers despite blatant violations of the model code of conduct by them.
The delegation wanted the removal of the SEC to be effected before the BMC polls to ensure a ‘free and fair’ election.
The memorandum has referred to the SEC’s dithering over the controversial speech made by the Finance minister and BJD vice-president Prasanna Acharya at Bargarh during ULB poll meeting, even after getting irrefutable recorded evidence in the matter.
It may be noted that on November 17 the Finance minister had stated at an election meeting in ward no 19 in Bargarh to lock up funds if voters voted for the Congress instead of voting for the BJD. He had said he was the Finance minister of the state, who had the key to the state exchequer, and would not release a rupee for the area’s development if the people did not vote for his party.
The Congress and the BJP had complained to the State Election Commission alleging breach of model code of conduct by the minister.
Earlier the party had brought charges of model code violations by two ministers- Dr Damodar Rout and Rajanikanta Singh. Dr Rout was accused of using beacon light atop his vehicle during electioneering in the first round of ULB polls.
Similarly, Rajanikanta Singh was charged with misuse of his office for election related work. But while a collector was transferred and another official suspended, no action was taken against the ministers.
The Congress leaders have pointed out in their memorandum that the SEC Tripathy did not take the ministers to task while punishing civil servants on flimsy grounds.
The Congress has also pointed out that while huge amounts of money were distributed by the BJD to win votes and the ruling party candidates spent lavishly in violation of limits imposed by the Commission, none of the financial observers ‘hand picked’ by the SEC reported the matter.
The party in a release said, “Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee has lost its confidence over the SEC who is virtually dancing to the tunes of Naveen Patnaik. We also feel that he is expressing his token of obligation to the chief minister who has assigned him in this independent constitutional body after his retirement as chief secretary. We also apprehend his partisan attitude to facilitate the BJD in the forthcoming BMC election and we do not expect a free and fair election as happened in the last elections.”