Odisha Health Minister offered bribe to voters: State BJP unit

Urges ECI to bar Pratap Jena from contesting election

The State unit of BJP on Thursday demanded that Odisha Health and Family Welfare Minister Pratap Jena should be barred from contesting the upcoming election as he allegedly tried to bribe voters.

“Mr. Jena on Wednesday announced payment of ₹35 lakh each to gram panchayats and ₹15 lakh each to booths where Biju Janata Dal candidates get a high percentage of votes, at a meeting held at Salepur in Cuttack. This is an open attempt to bribe voters,” claimed Sameer Mohanty, vice-president of the State BJP unit, while addressing a press conference here on Thursday.

“The Minister should not be allowed to contest the 2019 election as bribing voters is a serious offence. Moreover, the Election Commission of India should take stringent action against him,” the BJP leader demanded.

He claimed that Mr. Jena had asked media persons to stop recording the proceedings when he announced his “offer”.

“The footage is being broadcast across electronic media. We urge the Election Commission of India to examine the video and put an embargo on Mr. Jena contesting election,” said Mr. Mohanty.

The BJP leader also claimed that the incident reflects the ruling party apprehending an imminent defeat in the upcoming simultaneous Assembly and parliamentary elections.

Complaint lodged

The president of BJP’s Cuttack wing also lodged a complaint with the police asking for the incident to be probed.

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