Cyclone Fani relief being hijacked by BJD in Patkura, alleges BJP

Senior BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra Monday alleged that the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has hijacked relief distribution work in cyclone-hit Patkura Assembly constituency in Kendrapara district. Mohapatra, who is the BJP candidate in the Patkura Assembly seat, in a written complaint lodged by his election agent with the returning officer alleged that the state governments relief work has been turned into a tool by BJD candidate Sabitri Agarwal to induce the voters ahead of the polls. The government relief was distributed by BJD nominee Agarwal in the very presence of government officials in charge of relief distribution, he alleged. The ruling BJD has made mockery of democracy by taking over the relief and restoration measures in the aftermath of cyclone Fani which made a landfall on May 3, he claimed. When contacted, the Kendrapara district unit of the ruling BJD declined to comment on the allegation. The Election Commission of India (ECI) had postponed the polling for Patkura Assembly constituency in coastal Kendrapara district due to the devastation caused by cyclone Fani in Odisha. In view of the serious devastation caused by cyclone Fani, ECI had decided to extend completion of the elections from Patkura assembly segment for 60 days. The poll date will be suitably decided after assessing local situation. Earlier, the ECI had fixed May 19 as the date of polls for Patkura. Polling in Patkura Assembly seat was initially scheduled on April 29, but it could not be held because of the death of BJD candidate Bed Prakash Agarwal on April 20. Then, the ECI had fixed May 19 as the new date for the polls. All the three major parties, BJD, Congress and BJP have fielded their candidates in Patkura. While BJD has fielded Agarwals wife Sabitri as its candidate for Patkura, Mohapatra is the BJP nominee and Congress has named Jayant Mohanty as its candidate.