Odisha Sun Times Political Bureau
Bhubaneswar/Kendrapara, Apr 17:
If there was one Assembly constituency in Odisha which was monitored on a daily basis by BJD bosses, it was Mahakalpada in Kendrapara district. If reports from the ground zero are to believed, the ruling party has used every trick in the trade, including rank nasty methods, to make sure people do not vote for one leader that the party bosses fear the most – Bijoy Mohapatra, the veteran who is contesting as the BJP candidate out there.
It is in this context that the case of 54 polling officials being slapped with non-bailable warrants for failing to show up for poll duty assumes great significance and calls for a probe.
Early on the polling day,today, the Kendrapara collector recommended non bailable warrants (NBW) to be issued against 54 polling officials for skipping poll duty.
What has raised suspicion in the minds of the people in Kendrapara and Mahakalpada is the fact that all the 54 personnel ‘who went missing’ today were assigned poll duty in one constituency- Mahakalpada.
According to reliable sources, these 54 men had attended the training programme and were kept as standby officials. They were even present in Kendrapara until this morning.
No one knows why and how all of them suddenly disappeared into thin air.
Later, in the evening the Kendrapara district election office added 55 more names to the NBW list, an action that people here suspect was meant to give an impression that it was not happening in Mahakalpada alone.
Such a large scale mysterious disappearance of 54 would-be-polling-officers from one single constituency calls for immediate investigation by the Election Commission say local people who also want the district police to arrest all of them within 24 hours to allay suspicion that it was not part of a deliberate design by the administration.
“An independent probe into the matter will expose the nasty game that was played to defeat Bijoy Mohapatra and we expect the Election Commission takes up the matter in right earnest immediately and create a sense of faith in its claim that it is for free and fair polls,” said a prominent senior citizen in Kendrapara who did not want to be named.