Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, June 4:
Down in the dumps till the other day following their sound drubbing at the hands of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in the simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in Odisha in April, there is a sudden spring in the feet of the two principal opposition parties in the state.
Both the Congress and BJP have pounced on the series of reports carried in odishasuntimes.com over the last five days and petitioned the Election Commission of India (ECI) today seeking a thorough probe into the wide divergences in the number of votes shown as cast on the official website of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Odisha (ceoorissa.nic.in) and the aggregated number of votes shown as polled on the ECI website (eciresults.nic.in).
The difference, in one particular instance (Rajgangpur), was to the extent of 16, 000+, enough to change the outcome of the election.
“I would urge upon you, Sir, to order a thorough inquiry as to how such blunders took place in almost all the 147 Assembly constituencies. There is something fishy about the whole thing. It has to be probed whether it happened due to EVM manipulation or something else,” said a letter of Jena written to VS Sampath, Chief Election Commission of India.
The PCC president said he had reasons to suspect that the CEO allowed the EVMs to be tampered and manipulated by the ruling party and hired experts much before the actual voting took place.
In its petition that quoted heavily from the reports published on this website, the state BJP has cast serious aspersions on the role of the CEO, Odisha and accused her of ‘acting as per the wishes of the private secretary to the Chief Minister.’
“The rule of the game was further thrown to the winds when CEO appointed Mr. Rajesh Pravakar Patil as the district returning officer of Mayurbhanj Parliament constituency. Mr. Patil was debarred by Honourable Apex Court to hold in office with his associated with conducting in election (sic). Therefore, she was nothing but a puppet in the hands of the Chief Minister office,” BJP spokesperson Sameer Mohanty said in his petition addressed to the ECI V Sampath.
The petition mentioned the fact that the CEO’s office had removed the damning pages from its website after the discrepancies were brought to the fore by OST.
“Sir, I sincerely hope you would treat the above mentioned matters with the seriousness they deserve and order a high level probe into the irregularities and appoint team of experts to analyse the entire data on votes cast and votes counted in a free manner,” Mohanty urged the ECI.