Bhubaneswar, Dec 1:
Even as Finance Minister and BJD vice-president Prasanna Acharya denied any violation of poll code during the election to urban local bodies (ULBs) in western Odisha, the state Congress today sought the intervention of Governor SC Jamir in initiating action against the defiant Minister to save the democratic system.
The Finance Minister, during an election meeting in War No 19 of Bargarh municipality on November 17, had said that he would stopk government funds to the area, if Congress party was voted in the ULB polls. The SEC had issued show-cause notice to him after the BJP and Congress lodged complaints about the minister’s alleged violation of the election code of conduct.
In his reply to the Commission, the Finance Minister has sought to pass off the November 17 meeting as a party workers’ convention rather than a public meeting. Since it was an internal party event, there was no way it could have influenced the voters even if the allegations were true, he has argued.
Acharya has also questioned the reporting of the incident by the media on November 21, four days after the incident. He has attributed the timing of the report to the opposition’s attempt to malign him just ahead of the ULB elections.
The Commission, which is already in possession of the CD containing the speech of the minister, is in the process of ascertaining whether it was a public meeting or a party meeting, SEC sources told OST.
Meanwhile, a 10-member delegation of Congress met Jamir on Sunday evening and urged him to intervene in the matter.
“Three Ministers – Prasanna Acharya, Damodar Rout and Rajanikant Singh – have violated the poll code during the ULB elections. It is not a good sign for democracy. So, we have requested the Governor to use his power and take action against the BJD leaders to resolve the breakdown of the constitution,” said Bhupindar Singh, leader of opposition.