Chhattisgarh BJP leader, 8 others arrested in Odisha for distributing money to voters

21 Feb 2017

The police today arrested nine persons including a BJP leader from Chhattishgarh for allegedly distributing money to voters in Kalahandi district.
Police identified the arrested BJP leader as Lokesh Kawadia, the Chhattishgarh BJP NGO Cell secretary. Eight others associates of Kawadia were also detained by police yesterday and booked today. Police said they have seized Rs 2.11 lakh in cash and four vehicles from Kawadia and his associates possession. The nine BJP activists from Chhattishgarh were campaigning for the party leaders at Thuamul Rampur block of Kalahandi district for the ongoing three-tier panchayat election. The BJP's Odisha unit president Basant Panda, however, denied allegation that the party leader from Chhattishgarh was attempting to distribute money to the voters.
"There is no bar on campaigning by leaders from other states. We do not believe in cash for vote," Panda said. Similar allegation were also made against the ruling BJD when the police rescued BJD leader Sarada Prasad Nayak and his associates from captivity of villagers in Sundergarh district on Monday. The villagers of Jharipani gram panchayat detained Nayak and his men alleging that he was distributing various items including umbrella with BJD's poll symbol to woo voters in the last phase of panchayat polls. The police seized cash of Rs 8,000 from them. "The police rescued Nayak and his five supporters," a police officer said.
This is the second time in less than a week that Nayak has been in news on charge of wooing voters through illegal means. On February 15, a complaint was lodged against him at Jharipani police station in Sundergarh district for allegedly distributing money to the voters of Panchayat election. Meanwhile, the BJP workers from Cuttack today gheraoed the state police Headquarters, protesting the alleged police "failure" to curb violence by BJD during the panchayat polls.