Patkura Bye-Election : Cash Inducement Charge On BJD Candidate

Bhubaneswar: The alleged distribution of cash by the ruling BJD candidate Sabitri Agarwal to voters in Patkura assembly constituency has snowballed into controversy ahead of July 20 bye-election.

 The pictures of Agarwal allegedly distribution cash to a voter in poll-bound Patkura has gone viral on social media platform on Tuesday.

Polling in Patkura Assembly seat which will be held on July 20 was initially scheduled on April 29, but it could not be held because of the death of BJD candidate Bed Prakash Agarwal on April 20. Then, the Election Commission of India had fixed May 19 as the new date for the polls in Patkura. However later it was further postponed following cyclone Fani barreling through coastal districts.

Earlier BJD was accused of hijacking Fani cyclone relief in Patkura.

The BJP candidate, Bijoy Mohapatra, in written complaint lodged by his election agent with the returning officer on May 13, alleged that the government-sponsored cyclone relief has been turned into a tool by BJD contestant Sabitri Agarwal to induce the voters ahead of the bye-polls.

When asked on the alleged cash distribution by BJD candidate, BJP candidate Mohapatra said “I do not know the authenticity of the purported pictures. But BJD may go to any extent to ensure party’s poll victory. The BJD and its satrap have mastered the art of perpetrating unfair poll practice. But voters in Patkura are conscious and are not to be taken in for a ride by the ruling party’s foul-play”.

Mohapatra was one of the founders of the BJD but was unceremoniously ousted from the party by Naveen Patnaik just before the 2000 assembly polls. Since then, he has not been able to make it to the State assembly.

In the 2000 elections, he failed to contest as the BJD supremo Patnaik withdrew his ticket at the eleventh hour replacing him with Atanu Sabyasachi. But Mahapatra backed an Independent and ensured his victory.

Mohapatra on the erstwhile Janata Dal ticket had emerged victorious from this seat in 1980, 1985, 1990 and 1995 assembly polls.