Despite the State Government including anti-defection clause in the Zilla Parishad (ZP) Rules, 1994, there should be no doubt that some ZP Members have cross voted in the Zilla Parishad Presidents elections held on Sunday.

Senior Congress Lawmaker Prafulla Majhi has alleged  horse-trading and a
deal of huge amount of money to secure one vote for the ruling BJD which formed Zilla Parishad in Sundargarh.

Dr.Majhi indicted some senior leaders of the Congress and suspected that
the deal amount could be about Rs 1 crore.

“I have been told that, Rs 1 crore-deal has been struck to support the
BJD candidate and the exact amount can only be verified from those who were involved in the transaction. Definitely, either the District President of the party or the Pradesh Congress Committee is involved in the matter. Otherwise such a deal would have not been possible. I would suggest that those who are involved should be expelled from the party as soon as possible,” said Dr.Majhi.

As Dr.Majhi indicated  that Congress Veteran and former Chief Minister Hemananda 
Biswal,  Sundergarh Congress District President Dushmanta Nayak and OPCC leadership, the question is going round who received the amount.

“I do not know what horse trading Majhi is talking about, I have no
clue. If he can prove my involvement then I will quit politics,” said Mr.Biswal.

The deal between the BJD and the Congress was made at a hotel in Bhubaneswar.

“I was present there at Suryansh hotel in Bhubaneswar along with the election 
in-charge of the party. We have never dealt with any Ministers and whatever decision was taken it was based on everyone’s suggestions. We
joined hands with BJD and because they agreed to our demands of giving us the Vice President post,” said Congress MLA, Jogesh Singh.

“There were not closed-door meetings. Every ZP Member barring one was 
present when we were approached by some agent of the ruling BJD. Dr.Majhi should prove his allegation, else we will file a defamation suit,” said District Congress President, Dushmant Nayak.

Of the 35 ZP seats in Sundargarh, the BJD could secure
only 14 seats while the minimum requirement to form the Zilla Parishad was 18 seats. The BJP had secured 13 seats followed by five seats by Congress and one each seat by CPI, CPI M and Independent.

Even after securing three supports from CPI, CPIM and Independent, the
BJD was still short of one seat, which could be arrangement from the Congress Member.

“Yes, one Congress Member has supported us as the decision was taken in local level. The Congress decided to keep away from communal forces and therefore voted in favor of us,” said BJD Spokesperson, Amar Prasad Satpathy.

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