Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, June 2:
Even as dozens of losing opposition candidates in Odisha are gearing up to challenge the election results – both in the Election Commission of India (ECI) and in the courts – after glaring discrepancies in the number of votes shown as polled in various constituencies during the recently concluded Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in the state came to the fore, the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Odisha, which is at the centre of the whole controversy, is playing hard-to-get.
While admitting to the mistakes, the CEO’s office has been extremely tight-lipped about the reasons for the discrepancies.
Hari Ballav Mishra, additional chief electoral officer said he has no knowledge about the issue while CEO Dr Mona Sharma could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
In an exclusive report titled ‘Glaring discrepancies in voting figures in Odisha raise suspicion’ (please see link at the end of the story) on Saturday, odishasuntimes.com had reported that there were wide differences in figures between votes cast and polled on the CEO, Odisha site, ceoorissa.nic.in and the ECI website: eciresults.nic.in. The report said the difference in figures between the two sites was to the tune of a mind boggling 16, 000 + in some cases, enough to constitute the difference between winning and losing in tightly contested constituencies.
Armed with this revelation, opposition parties have stepped up their ante against the CEO’s office questioning its conduct during the twin elections held in April, which gave a clear mandate to the BJD.
“I came to know that there are serious discrepancies in voting figures uploaded on the two websites. People across Odisha have called me. I will write a letter to the ECI since it raises suspicion among the common mass. There should be 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 PCC president Jaydev Jena.
Similarly, the BJP reacted in the same manner. “If it is true, then it’s a serious matter. It should be inquired properly since it raises question over the ability of CEO to manage the elections. How the two official websites could differ on vote figure? The discrepancies should be inquired,” said Umakanta Patnaik, BJP youth president adding that the party would move to the ECI.
Meanwhile, about 50 candidates, who lost the elections by the narrowest of margins, have decided to move the court demanding re-election in the state. They said they were left with no option but to knock on the doors of the court since they had lost all faith in the Election Commission.