Odisha: BJP candidate arrested for allegedly vandalising EVM


PTI, May 26, 2024, 1:12 PM IST

A BJP candidate was arrested in Odisha’s Khurda district for allegedly vandalising an EVM as he had to wait in queue for a long to cast his vote because the machine malfunctioned, officials said on Sunday.

Prashant Jagdev, the BJP MLA of Chilika, has been fielded this time from the Khurda assembly segment. The incident happened on Saturday at booth 114 in Bolagad block’s Kaunripatna in the Begunia assembly segment where he is registered as a voter.

Jagdev went to the booth along with his wife, but as the EVM malfunctioned, he had to wait for some time to cast his vote. Soon, a war of words broke out between him and the presiding officer, amid which he allegedly pulled the EVM from the table, as a result of which it fell and broke, officials said.

Superintendent of Police Avinash Kumar said the MLA was arrested on the basis of a complaint lodged by the presiding officer.

A court later sent him to judicial custody, and at present, he is lodged at the Khurda jail, officials said.

Besides the Representation of People’s Act, Jagdev was booked under different sections of the IPC, the SP said.

In his complaint, the presiding officer alleged that the MLA created a disturbance at the booth, obstructed the voting process and abused the polling personnel, Kumar said.

”We have requested the District Election Officer (DEO) to check the CCTV footage of the incident,” he said, adding that an investigation was underway.

A BJP leader claimed that the allegations against Jagdev were politically motivated.

”The presiding officer misbehaved with several voters and did the same with the MLA,” he alleged.

The state’s ruling BJD also filed a complaint with the chief electoral officer (CEO), seeking stern action against Jagdev.

”He attacked the polling personnel in the booth and then fled the spot by hiding in the vehicle of Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi,” BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra alleged.

Polling was held on Saturday for the state’s six Lok Sabha seats and 42 assembly constituencies, simultaneously.

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