BHUBANESWAR: As campaigning for the Pipili bypoll gains momentum, police on Monday seized Rs 50 lakh unaccounted cash from the possession of two persons, prompting the BJD to launch an attack on the BJP alleging use of money power to influence voters.
Puri SP Kanwar Vishal Singh said two youths on a motorcycle were intercepted near Tarakaja in Pipili. They did not stop during checking at Pipili toll gate and attempted to speed away but were chased and caught by police at Tarakaja Square. "The two are residents of Balanga. They have been detained for questioning," Singh said.
The motorcycle with number OR-13-G-6672 is registered in the name of one Subash Chandra Polai. As soon as the incident came to the fore, the ruling BJD alleged that the two were associated with BJP and one was seen with party candidate Ashrit Pattanayak during campaigning for the by-poll scheduled on April 17.
Photographs of BJP candidate Pattanayak with one of the youth became viral during the day.
A delegation of BJD leaders approached Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) SK Lohani demanding that police patrolling and surveillance team in the constituency should be increased to ensure that the BJP does not become successful in pumping money into the election.
BJD national spokesperson Sasmit Patra alleged that due to the growing fear within the BJP of losing the by-poll, it has been pumping huge amount of money to influence the electorate. The delegation demanded that the source of the illegal money should be investigated and strong action taken against the guilty.
"The people of Pipili are conscious and enlightened citizens, they will defeat such attempts by the BJP," he added. However, Pattanayak refuted the allegations and said that no BJP leader was involved in the incident.
The incident comes after pre-poll violence was reported in Sahajapur gram panchayat and a BJP worker lodged a police complaint alleging that some BJD members manhandled him and damaged his two-wheeler on April 2.
Meanwhile, BJD poll observer for the by-poll, Pratap Keshari Deb announced that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will campaign for the party candidate Rudra Pratap Maharathy. He, however, said that the date and mode of campaign by the Chief Minister are yet to be worked out.