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Lok Sabha Polls 2019: After PM's Trunk, Minister Dharmendra Pradhan's Suitcase Draws Complaint

Petroleum minister Dharemdnra Pradhan stopped election officers from examining a "sealed suitcase", Odisha's Biju Janata Dal alleged.

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Dharmendra Pradhan misbehaved with election officials, Odisha's BJD has alleged.


Bhubaneswar: 

Highlights

  1. BJD asks electoral official to take action against petroleum minister
  2. BJD says he stopped officials from checking a sealed suitcase
  3. Party says Dharmendra Pradhan misbehaved with officials

A "sealed suitcase" has found itself at the centre of a complaint against Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan who allegedly misbehaved with government officers in Odisha trying to conduct checks amid the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Wednesday wrote to the state Chief Electoral Officer demanding action against the petroleum minister, days after the Congress asked the Election Commission to look into a "mysterious box" that was moved from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's helicopter to his car when he was campaigning in Karnataka last week.

"Yesterday (Tuesday) as telecasted by several television channels, it was seen that BJP leader Dharmendra Pradhan misbehaved and prevented government officers from checking his helicopter and a sealed suitcase, which was being done as part of normal election duty checking," the complaint read.

"We also demand that the contents of the sealed suitcase, which was in his possession, is informed to the public, especially since apprehensions of him carrying cash in that sealed suitcase is being suspected at large," it added.

Officers appointed by the Election Commission have been swooping down on houses of political leaders, their vehicles and choppers, to check for unaccounted cash, allegedly being used by parties to bribe voters. Voting in Tamil Nadu's Vellore has been cancelled after a huge haul of cash. Choppers and cars of three senior politicians - HD Kumaraswamy, BS Yeddyurappa and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, chief of the BJD - are among those checked in the past few days.

But an officer posted as General Observer in Odisha was suspended by the Election Commission for allegedly checking Prime Minister Narendra Modi's helicopter in Sambalpur on Tuesday as it "violated the norms".

"Checking of the prime minister's chopper, undertaken at Sambalpur, was not in accordance with the Election Commission guidelines as SPG (Special Protection Group) protectees are exempt from such checking," news agency PTI quoted an unnamed official as saying.

A day earlier, the Congress had doubled down on demands for a probe against the PM. "We saw that there were three more choppers escorting the Prime Minister's helicopter. After landing, a black trunk was taken out and whisked away in a private car that was not part of the special protection group carcade," Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma had said.

Five of Odisha's 21 parliamentary constituencies are voting today in the second round of the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections. Votes will be counted on May 23.



Election Results for Lok Sabha Election 2019 will be out on May 23. Get the latest election news and live updates on ndtv.com/elections. Catch all the action on NDTV Live. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for news updates from each of the 543 parliamentary seats for the election 2019

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