Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Feb 23:
While the issue of violence in the recently concluded Panchayat polls refused to die down, a video purportedly of booth rigging in Odisha’s Cuttack district has put questions on free and fair elections in the state.
The incident has come to the fore during the rural elections held at Pokhari village under Niali in the district.
According to reports, two booths (no 7 and 8) were allegedly rigged on the final day of the five-phase panchayat polls in the state.
What is astounding is the poll officials were hand in glove with the booth ‘capturers’. The officials were seen cooperating with the persons rigging the booth despite a woman objecting to the unscrupulous act.
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW:
“The presiding officer had submitted report that rigging was done at four booths. State Election Commission had notified for repoll. However, the women blocked the road following which polling party could not reach the village. Hence, polling could not be held. This has been done by Congress workers,” alleged Niali BJD MLA Pramod Mallick.
Reacting to the development, Congress has dismissed the allegation leveled by the ruling party.
“The Biju Janata Dal workers are involved in this. It has happened at various places. They have released anti-socials from jails and sent to places across the district,” Congress MLA Prakash behera said.
SEC on Sunday had recommended repolling in six booths at Niali due to violence and rigging during the second phase polls on April 17.