There is no end to Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) woes in Odisha. While major parties such as ruling Biju Janata Dal and Opposition Congress are busy getting their house in order before they get into the poll mode, the BJP is in complete disarray.
The central leadership's decision to suspend the organisational election process till further instruction has now come as a body blow to the saffron party which remains hopelessly mired in controversies.
Peeved with large-scale irregularities in the organisational elections, the national leadership of the party called off the polls after it was flooded with petitions from nearly 20 districts that election was being conducted in a biased manner.
Serious irregularities like enrollment of fake members and members from the voter’s lists, distribution of membership books in a partisan manner, deliberate deletion of primary members opposed to the present dispensation, non-supply of membership forms to a large number of senior party members for active membership were brought to the notice of the central leadership.
National secretary in charge of Odisha Santosh Gangwar who visited the state last week was specifically deputed to verify the complaints received from the districts. Party workers from several districts met him and apprised him of the situation in their districts. They reportedly told him that active members of the party have been ignored while those indulged in anti-party activities were given the election charge.
Senior party leader Bijay Mohapatra, leader of the BJP legislature party K V Singhdeo, former minister Manmohan Samal, former deputy chief whip Mohan Majhi, Krushna Jagdev and Sameer Mohanty had not been given enrollment form to become active members.
“The orgnisational election of the BJP has been suspended and as per the instruction of the central election officer I have communicated the matter to all district election officers,” BJP’s state election officer Basanta Panda told this paper.
Panda said the instruction to stop the oganisational election came from national BJP general secretary and election officer Thawar Chand Gehlot. Gehlot further said that the rescheduled date of election would be intimated after the puja festival.
Once poll cancellation report came to fore, party state president Jual Oram and his group held a series of meetings to chalk out a counter strategy. Instructions were issued to all the 37 organisational districts by Oram to continue the election process. Sources in the party said that district election officers were pressured to complete the election process as early as possible.
“Ignoring the instruction of the central election officer, mandal (block) elections were held in several districts,” informed sources in the party said. As per the election scheduled, October 17 and 18 were the dates for block level election of the party.