In a desperate bid to continue their sway over the party, the State leadership of the BJP is making a last-ditch effort to complete the organisational polls as quickly as possible ignoring the central fiat.
According to reports pouring in from some districts, mandal (block) elections were put off in some blocks of Bargarh and Jagatsinghpur districts following protests from party workers.
“The State BJP office has directed the district election officers of select districts to complete the elections ignoring the instruction issued by national general secretary and central election officer TC Gehlot,” sources in the party said.
Gehlot had to issue a written order to BJP’s State election officer Basanta Kumar Panda on October 18 asking the latter to suspend the election till further orders following complaints from several districts that the State leadership was hell bent on completing the process, at the earliest.
After receiving complaints on alleged bungling in the election, Gehlot had earlier instructed Panda over telephone on October 16 to suspend the election. Accordingly, Panda had conveyed the decision to all the district election officers.
Confusion prevailed as some State functionaries of the party, including president Jual Oram and general secretary (organisation) Panchanan Rout, asked the district election officers to continue the process. They reportedly told them that the party has received no instructions to stop the election.
Meanwhile, elections to seven out of 10 mandals of Bhubaneswar district have been completed while the other three did not qualify for the organisational poll.
As per the election schedule, mandal election was to be held on October 17 and 18 while the election of the district presidents was scheduled to be completed by November 5.
As per the party’s new constitution, elected members of the local committees (panchayat and ward) will constitute the electoral college and elect the mandal president and mandal executives not exceeding 40 in number. The mandal executives will elect the district presidents and members of the State council according to the number of Assembly constituencies in the respective districts.
The State unit will be eligible to elect a new president and participate in the national organisational poll if elections to more than half the number of district units are complete.
After suspension of the organisational election, the State is likely to have a nominated president.