Panchayat polls: BJP-BJD fight over poll code continues

Bhubaneswar: The fight between BJD and BJP in Odisha over advertisements allegedly violating model code conduct continues with both the parties moving State Election Commission against each other today.

The regional party which moved the commission against rice scheme advertisement of Centre yesterday has once again alleged that Centre’s announcement on Atal Jyoti Yojana violates the poll code and demanded prohibition on the publication and transmission of advertisement of the central scheme in Odisha.

“The advertisements related to Atal Jyoti Yojana in Newspaper and TV channels amount to violation of model code of conduct. We appealed to the State Election Commission to take action against it immediately, BJD spokesperson Rabi Narayan Nanda said.

Notably, the Centre issued advertisement on the rural solar light scheme and appealed to the people of 202 districts of five States including Odisha to extract benefit out of it. The MPs have been asked to implement the programme in their respective areas.

The State BJP too has countered BJD over advertisements on Aahaar and Niramaya Yojana. The saffron party lodged similar complaint with the commission alleging that photographs of CM Naveen Patnaik on the banner and hoardings of the schemes amount to breach of election code.

“The hoardings featuring photos of Chief Minister are being put across the city. Programmes under the Aahar scheme with Naveen Patnaik’s photo are also being pasted at Aahar centres. Similarly, old banners of Niramaya Yojana are being replaced with new one at the health centres. We have drawn Election Commission’s attention on these matter,” BJP state vice-president Sameer Mohanty said.

BJP also demanded restriction on officers’ personal meeting with Chief Minister.

The regional ruling party has already made four complaints against the BJP while the saffron party has moved the commission thrice with similar allegations.

Considering complaints of both the parties, the Commssion has directed the Centre to stop the advertisements of Ujjwala and Swacha Bharat scheme.

On the other hand, experts claim that constitution has not bared the Prime Minister to announce scheme during Panchayat or civic body polls.

“The elections continue to go on in the country; sometimes in civic bodies and in Panchayat level. There is no constitutional guidelines barring the Prime Minister giving speech and announcing schemes”, constitutional expert Subash Kasyap said.