Reported by Vishwanath Kumar
Kendrapara, Apr 25:
Kendrapara district election office today placed under suspension the presiding officer of a polling booth where repolling took place today after visual evidence of electoral malpractice and rigging during the voting on April 17 had been recorded and aired by an Odia news channel. The video clip went viral on social network sites raising serious questions on the free and fair conduct of polls in this coastal district.
The presiding officer of the booth, Ganeswar Jena, who is a college teacher, was placed under suspension following directions in this regard by the CEO, said Kendrapara Collector, Nitin Bhanudas Jawale. He was held guilty after an administrative inquiry into the incident, he said.
An FIR has been lodged against the four polling agents of both the ruling BJD and Congress while criminal cases have also been slapped against the accused who cast bogus votes.
The repolling and today’s punitive action came after Odia news channel Focus TV recorded and aired visuals of two persons casting votes on behalf of some women voters without being stopped by the polling officials.
In the visuals, the presiding officer was seen sitting quietly while all this was happening right in front of his eyes.
A re-polling was held today in the same booth (No- 185) in Janabali Upper Primary school of Kalasapur village under Aul assembly segment on directions of chief electoral officer. The re-poll recorded impressive turnout of 74.25% voters more than the number of votes polled a week back.