Arrest orders against 2 polling officials for 'trying to influence voters' in Odisha | Election News

Odisha's Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) on Monday suspended four presiding officers and a polling official, who faced charges of trying to influence voters, as four Lok Sabha constituencies and 28 assembly constituencies in the state Elections were held on the seats. He also directed to arrest two of them.

CEO Nikanja Bihari Dhal, who did not name the officials, said the action was taken under Section 129 of the Representation of the People Act, which prohibits polling officials from influencing voting in any way.

Dhal directed the Collector of Ganjam district to suspend and arrest the two presiding officers posted in Chhatarpur assembly constituency. The Collector was also directed to suspend a third presiding officer, who was posted in Gopalpur assembly constituency.

“We were monitoring the situation in the webcasting room and we have instructed the district collectors to take action wherever we find any irregularities on the part of the election officials. Both the presiding officers told Dhal. The arrest warrants have been issued after receiving preliminary evidence against him. Indian Express.

Official sources said the officers were facing allegations of influencing people to vote for a particular political party.

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Ganjam SP Jagmohan Meena said that the police will take action regarding the arrests after the FIR is registered. Meanwhile, attention is being given to collecting EVMs from the polling officials returning from the booths, he said.

CEO Dhal has also directed that two other polling officials posted in Dharamgarh and Chiketi assembly constituencies should also be suspended. One of them was also the presiding officer.

Sporadic clashes were reported from Chiketi soon after voting began, after which the CEO directed Berhampur SP to personally monitor the situation for smooth polling. Incidents of violence were also reported from Berhampur and Jharigaon assembly constituencies.

In Swabhiman Anchal, an area under Chitrakonda assembly constituency in Malkangiri district that was once cut off due to being a stronghold of Maoists, around 60 per cent voters exercised their franchise at several polling booths. In 2019, the electorate of the region voted in a single BSF camp, and the polling percentage was only 25.77 percent.

© The Indian Express Pvt Ltd

First uploaded by: 13-05-2024 at 21:38 IST

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