Bhubaneswar: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) today submitted a memorandum to Odisha Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) urging the election body to ensure strict video surveillance of petrol pumps and gas agencies in Odisha, which the ruling party claimed, are being used as ‘cash hoarding’ and ‘distribution points’ during the elections under the direction of senior BJP leader and Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
“This is to bring to your kind notice that during the Bijepur by-electIons in Odisha, huge amounts of cash was seized from Petrol Pump owners and their managers under your supervision and monitoring. This highlighted the rampant misuse of Petrol Pumps and potentially Gas agencies as cash hoarding points and distribution points as well during the election”, the memorandum reads.
Targeting the Union Minister, the BJD said, “This has become a new low in Odisha politics after leader Dharmendra Pradhan has become Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister. He is well-known for his misuse of Petroleum companies, their organisational structure and processes as well as its officers and Petrol Pumps/Gas agencies for his political motives”.
“With the advent of the 2019 General and Assembly Elections in Odisha, this continuing threat is real and true. Since the Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister is Dharmendra Pradhan and his earlier antecedents in using Petrol Pumps for cash transfers has been exposed in Bjepur by elections, therefore Petrol Pumps and Gas agencies under direction of Mr Pradhan being used cash hoarding and distribution points in this election is also real and true”, the BJD alleged.
“Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan seeks to undertake such illegalities and violate all norms of democratic and electoral ethos to fight an election which was clearly seen during Bijepur by-elections,” the memorandum highlighted.
It further stated, “During the Bijepur by-election as well, despite our repeated complaints no action was undertaken against Mr Pradhan and the elements undertaking these illegalities. We hope the same will not be repeated in this election and all wrong-doings and malafide intentions would be curbed by ensuring strict video surveillance on all Petrol Pumps and Gas agencies across the state.”
“We hope you will ensure strict surveillance and monitoring of all Petrol Pumps and Gas agencies in this regard and provide the voters of Odisha a free and fair election,” the BJD added.