ELECTION IN ORISSA: NOTEWORTHY IS REFUSAL TO VOTE

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Attempts were rampant to hijack election in Orissa by two sets of political activists: one known as BJD and the other, alleged as left ultras.

Money was recovered from a vehicle pressed on election duty of BJD’s Loksabha candidate from Berhampur, Siddhant Mohapatra, with which is dovetailed Chief Minister Navin Patnaik’s Assembly constituency, Hinjli.

Mohapatra claims that the money was meant for electoral expenses that the law permits.

Money was seized from a hotel room stashed in a bag belonging to the son of BJD minister S. N.Patro, which even the police suspects was meant for influencing voters. But the hotel owner has come forward to claim the money as his own.

Voting was discernibly rigged in Navin’s own constituency with agents of the CM distributing chits to voters inside the booths carrying color prints of Navin’s face as well as his election symbol, conch in blatant contravention of election code.

On the other hand, alleged left ultras tried to obstruct voting through assertive violence in various places, even though none of them is known as yet to ever have educated the voters as to why should they refuse to vote.

But noteworthy is the reality that around half of the Orissa voters have not cast their votes in the ensuing elections. They have silently and unnoticed revolted against the plutocratic design behind the election.

Had there been any provision for recording their refusal to vote, it is sure, the first phase of polls in Orissa would never have ended with only 52.6 % voting. All the citizens, qualified to vote, could sure have used their ballot papers to record their refusal to vote so that the elections should have been fully participated and that would have best served the purpose of democracy.

However, as has emerged, voters in twenty numbers of Booths have used their rights not to vote for any of the candidates as to them, election has lost its relevance.

April 16 will be remembered as a day of silent revolution as so many persons of Orissa have refused to tolerate political hypocrisy and have resolutely rejected the plutocratic traps.

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