Union minister and BJP leader Jual Oram today said he is ready to resign if allegations of discrepancies in his poll expenses affidavit, levelled by the ruling BJD in Odisha, are found true. “The charges levelled by the BJD are false and politically motivated. There is no mismatch in my poll expense figures. I am prepared to face any probe. If the allegations are found true, I will step down as a minister,” he said. Oram accused the BJD of trying to mislead people after discrepancies were found in their own poll expenditure statements.
The Union tribal affairs minister said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik should resign first on moral grounds as preliminary inquiry showed mismatch in his affidavit for the 2014 state Assembly polls. Oram’s comments came a day after the BJD demanded his resignation accusing him of submitting false affidavit on poll expenditure before the Election Commission. The MP from Sundergarh constituency has already denied the charge put up by BJD MPs Pinaki Mishra and P K Deb at a press meet yesterday. The allegation against the union minister come at a time when the BJP is demanding Patnaik’s resignation, charging him of discrepancies in his election expenditure.
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“The allegation against me is false, fabricated and politically motivated. I challenge them (BJD) to take the matter to the court,” Oram said. The BJD has also said it will move the EC and court seeking action against Oram. The BJD’s attack on Oram came after the BJP sought Odisha Governor S C Jamir’s intervention into alleged misuse of official machinery by the Odisha government to defend the poll expenditure case against the chief minister, who is also the BJD president.
BJP candidate from Hinjili Devadanda Mahapatra, who was defeated by Patnaik, has moved the Orissa High Court alleging that there were discrepancies in Patnaik’s election expenditure document submitted to the EC. The high court is scheduled to hear the case tomorrow. Stepping up attack on the chief minister, BJP Odisha unit vice president Sameer Mohanty accused the BJD of denigrating the constitutional mechanism in a desperate bid to save Naveen Patnaik and his image.