Odisha BJP Alleges Misuse Of Mission Shakti Women In Dhamnagar Bypoll, Urges CEO To Ensure Fair Voting

Bhubaneswar: BJP on Saturday urged Odisha’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) S K Lohani to prevent deployment of local Mission Shakti women and Anganwadi workers for election related works in bypoll-bound Dhamnagar and ensure that people from outside the constituency are engaged for a fair voting.

A delegation of state BJP, which met the CEO in Bhubaneswar, alleged that local Mission Shakti women workers have been engaged for collection of ballot papers for elderly citizens and persons with disabilities (PwD) for bypoll to Dhamnagar assembly seat in Bhadrak district due to manipulation by the ruling BJD.

Urging Lohani not to succumb to pressure from the ruling BJD, the BJP leaders said the poll authorities must take necessary steps to ensure free and fair voting in the by-election to be held on November 3.

BJP state general secretary Lekhashree Samantsinghar, who led the delegation, said it is the responsibility of the returning officer to ensure that people aged above 80 years, PwDs and those down with COVID-19 cast their votes.

She said Mission Shakti women from outside the Dhamnagar assembly constituency should be engaged for collection of ballot papers for such voters to ensure a fair election.

They told the CEO that presently Mission Shakti women from the by-poll bound constituency have been appointed for the purpose.

Mission Shakti members belonging to the constituency have been deliberately appointed for the BJD’s gains, she said adding that Anganwadi workers or Mission Shakti members from other areas should be appointed for a fair election.

Earlier, the BJP had opposed the transfer of two block development officers (BDOs) in the bypoll-bound constituency. However, the office of the CEO has clarified that their continuance was in violation of the model code of conduct of the Election Commission of India (ECI).

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