Senior Congress MLA Prafulla Majhi today said he suspected horse-trading to ensure victory of BJD candidates in the Zilla Parishad president election in Sundergarh district. Majhi, MLA of Talsara, made this allegation after one of the five Congress Zilla Parishad members voted in favour of the BJD candidate who won the election held on Sunday. "I suspect payment of huge money to support the BJD candidate for president post and the exact amount can only be verified from those who are involved in it," Majhi told PTI. "I demand expulsion of the people involved in it from the party," Majhi said. BJD spokesman Amar Prasad Satpathy said, "One Congress ZP member supported us in order to keep the BJP away." Former chief minister and senior Congress leader from Sundergarh district Hemananda Biswal said, "I have no clue of what horse trading Majhi is talking about. If he can prove it, I will quit politics." Of the 35 Zilla Parishad seats in Sundergarh, the ruling BJD had secured 14 seats followed by BJP (13) and Congress (5). CPI, CPI(M) and Independent candidates won in three ZP seats. To get elected as the president of Sundergarh Zilla Parishad, one required support of 18 ZP members.
Despite support of CPI, CPI-M and an Independent member, BJD candidate needed one more vote which was apparently given by one of the five Congress ZP members. "We joined hands with BJD and because they agreed to our demands of giving us the vice-president's post," said Congress MLA, Jogesh Singh. Sundergarh District Congress president, Dushmant Nayak said, "There was no closed-door meeting. Every ZP member barring one was present when we were approached by someone of the BJD. Majhi should prove his allegation, else we will file a defamation suit.
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