BJD’s last-minute amendments in ZP election rules; BJP moves Orissa HC


Bhubaneswar, Mar 11: With election for Zilla Parishad chairman in State scheduled to be held on Mar 12, the BJP on Friday moved the Orissa High Court after the State government stirred the hornet’s nest by making a change in the Odisha Zilla Parishad Act – 1994. Section 51 of the Act has been amended to allow agents of every party to be present during the election to the chairman. The agents will be appointed by the respective parties and the respective ZP members will have to inform their agents about the candidates they have voted to become the chairman. As per the amended rules, an authorised agent of each political party will be allowed to verify the ballot papers of the party members before they cast their votes. It is said that the President and the General Secretary of the state party/state unit of national political party will inform the Election Officer about the agent prior to the election day. The new rules would come into force on the date of its publication in the Odisha Gazette. The new clauses mentioned that the Election Officer will allow the authorised agents to verify as to whom elected members of their party have to cast their votes. However, such a change was seen by BJP as a violation of law prompting it to move the High Court challenging the amendment. According to Union minister and senior BJP leader Jual Oram, Sundergarh ZP member Sukhlal Munda has filed a case in the HC. Sources informed that the HC will hear the plea on March 15. Moreover, the ruling-BJD also issued a whip to all its elected ZP members. Party sources said, the whip has been issued through the district presidents by party chief Naveen Patnaik. The whip warns its concerned recipients that any violation of guidelines stated therein will be construed as anti-party and stringent action will be initiated.

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