Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Pattamundai/Bhubaneswar, Jan 24:

Palpable tension prevailed in Penthapala panchayat under Pattamundai block in Odisha’s Kendrapara district today over the alleged fraudulent withdrawal of nominations of two female Samiti Sabhya candidates for the upcoming panchayat polls in the state.

Locals staged a demonstration in front of the panchayat office to protest against the illegal act.

Agitated locals have blocked the panchayat’s main road for about an hour by setting old automobile tyres afire on the road resulting in disruption of traffic movement.

Allegedly, Kendrapara BJD MLA Kishore Tarai in connivance with Pattamundai BDO has managed to get his wife Babita Tarai elected unopposed as Samiti Sabhya from Penthapala panchayat by the fraudulent withdrawal of nominations of two other candidates-Pramila Mallick and Gayatri Sethy.

Both have lodged written complaints against MLA Tarai and Pattamundai BDO with the police in this connection.

A delegation of the Congress party led by the party’s senior leader and spokesperson Ganeswar Behera today met the State Election Commission (SEC) and has lodged a complaint on this account.

Behera was accompanied by two MLAs party Debendra Sharma and Anshuman Mohanty and the two complainants.

“Sub section 15 of Section 11 of the Election Act 1991 states that whosoever will withdraw his/her nominations shall visit the Election Officer in person, present a certificate and sign the form meant for withdrawal of nominations in the officer’s presence. That has not taken place. Both Gayatry and Pramila were busy with their work. Had no intention of withdrawing their nominations and were rather prepared to fight the elections. Therefore, they had not visited the Election Officer and their signatures have been forged. Without them visiting the officer, it was announced that they have withdrawn their nominations,” said Behera to reporters after meeting the SEC.

On the other hand, MLA Tarai has pleaded ignorance about how the withdrawals had taken place and stated that those who have withdrawn their nominations and the concerned BDO might know about it.

He said the allegations against him are baseless and false. The SEC has sought reports on the matter and the law will take its own course, he added.

SEC Secretary Rabindra Sahu said: “We have received the complaint from Congress and the report from district Collector and observer on the allegation. Action will be taken after the report and complaint is examined.”