The State Election Commission (SEC), Odisha has debarred senior BJD legislator and government chief whip in State Assembly, Pramila Mallik from campaigning in the ensuing Panchayat poll in the state for 48 hours from February 14 (10 a.m.)
SEC Secretary RN Sahu on Sunday informed about this observation of the Commission to the collector of Jajpur district, where Mallik’s constituency is located.
“The Commission disapproves of the conduct of Mallik, MLA Binjharpur and debars her from campaigning, including interviews, public utterances in media (electronic, print, social media),etc. anywhere in the State of Odisha for a period of 48 hours starting from 10.00 am of 14.02.2022 in the ensuing general elections to Panchayati Raj Institution (PRIs), 2022,” the SEC said in the communication.
The SEC took this decision against Mallik as she had allegedly threatened voters to stop providing benefits of various schemes to people if they do not vote for the BJD candidate in the Panchayat polls.
During the Panchayat election campaign at Zilla Parishad Zone – 27 in Jajpur district on last Thursday, Mallik had allegedly threatened the voters to stop their monthly old age person, rice for Rs 1 per kg and pucca houses being provided under government schemes if they do not vote for BJD candidates. This is a violation of the model code of conduct, sources said.
Soon after a video of the speech went viral in social media, Mallik was also shown black flags by locals while she had gone campaigning in the Pritipur Ranasahi area in Jajpur.
On the direction of the SEC, the Jajpur collector had earlier issued a show cause notice to Mallik.
Meanwhile, the Commission has warned fake voters against trying to cast votes in the rural elections.
SEC Secretary Sahu said a person can cast his vote during the Panchayat elections only when the concerned person’s name is mentioned in the voters’ list.
However, a polling agent can challenge the voting rights of a voter if he suspects the concerned voter by depositing a fee of Rs 2 before a presiding officer in the booth.
Following the request of the polling agent, the presiding officer will conduct an inquiry to know about the voting right of the concerned person, Sahu said.
If the official found the voter in question as genuine, Rs 2 fee will be forfeited and the voter will be allowed to vote.
In case the allegation by the polling agent is found to be true, Rs 2 fee will be returned to the polling agent and the fake voter will be handed over to police, the Secretary informed.
The Panchayat poll will be held in five phases on February 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24. The voters will exercise their franchise from 7 am to 1 pm on these days. Counting of votes and declaration of results will be done at Block level on February 26, 27 and 28.