ZP poll rule changed: BJP moves HC


Bhubaneswar: The BJP on Friday moved Orissa High Court against a state government notification changing Zilla Parishad (ZP) Election Rules, contending that rules cannot be altered in the middle of election process.

Union Minister Jual Oram has said that one of our BJP Zilla Parishad members Sukhlal Munda from Sundergarh district on Friday has filed a petition challenging the Odisha government notification on changing rules for the Zilla Parishad Elections.

The states Panchayati Raj department on March 8 in a notification announced certain changes in Odisha Zilla Parishad Election Rules-1994, and the petition was filed two days before election for ZP presidents.

As per the amended rules, an authorized agent of each political party, whose members will vote for the election of president or vice-president, will be allowed to verify ballot papers of his or her party members before they cast their votes.

According to results of the panchayat polls, BJP has emerged as the principal gainer by becoming the second largest party pushing the Congress to the third position, even as the BJD won majority seats. Of the 846 ZP seats for which polls were held in five phases from February 13, the BJD has won 473 seats and the BJP 297.

Now elected members would vote to ZP president and vice-presidents poll.

Oram has claimed that the BJD government has brought in this highly undemocratic and unconstitutional notification to help its own party candidates.

Senior BJP leader and former law minister B B Harichandan said that if the government wanted to change rules, it should have been done before the notification for the panchayat elections was issued on December 27.

BJD, however, welcomed the government notification.

BJD spokesman Amar Prasad Satpathy has said that the new rules would help avoid horse trading as none can cross-vote in the ZP president and vice-president elections.

Meanwhile, the ruling BJD has imposed whip on its elected ZP members asking them to vote for party candidates during ZP president and vice-president elections.

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