Bargarh, Dec 11:
The investigation into the controversial statement made by Finance Minister Prasanna Acharya during an election meeting here on November 17 is showing no signs of coming to a conclusion in a hurry.
After the State Election Commission (SEC) failed to come to a definite conclusion about whether the minister’s statement violated the model of conduct then in force for the urban elections in western Odisha, Commissioner Ajit Tripathy is arriving here on Wednesday to probe the matter himself. He would meet concerned persons and peruse relevant material at the Circuit House here before taking a final call on the issue.
SEC has already examined video footage of the speech in which Acharya had threatened to choke funds to areas that did not vote for the BJD in the ULB elections. It has also studied the minister’s reply and then a subsequent clarification to the show cause notice served on him, besides the collector’s report on the incident.
The material in the Commission’s hands, in the normal course, should have been enough to arrive at a conclusion. Once it was established that it was not doctored, the video footage itself should have been enough for the Commission to give a ruling on the complaint filed by the Opposition Congress and BJP about the violation of the code of conduct by the minister. But the fact that the SEC himself is rushing all the way from Bhubaneswar to conduct an on-the-spot inquiry even after all this suggests that there could be more to it than meets the eye.
Congressmen here suspect foul play. “The SEC is coming here not to find out the truth, but to look for ways to bail out Acharya,” said a local Congress leader.