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Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

At a time when the entire nation is reeling under Covid surge, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MLA from Chandbali in Bhadrak district, Byomkesh Ray, was found openly flouting Covid safety guidelines during campaigning on Monday.

As per reports, the BJD MLA ignored the protocol for campaigning laid down by the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) in organising a rally that involved hundreds of his supporters. As seen in a video, the BJD MLA, accompanied by hundreds of supporters, was welcomed by the villagers with Aarti upon his arrival. Most of the supporters had no masks on their faces during the rally as well as the meeting. 

Moreover, the supporters also gathered in a small space for lunch.

BJD's Zilla Parishad (ZP) member candidate Ranjan Sahoo, Zone 5's ZP member Balabhadra Lenka, local Sarpanch and Samiti member candidate were among others present at the event.

Addressing the crowd, Ray urged everyone to vote for the party candidates during the rural polls. 

However, Ray tried to dismiss the allegations of him flouting the pandemic norms during the rally. He said the meeting and rally was conducted with adherence to Covid protocols. 

"We followed Covid protocols during the event. As this is held in a village, everyone has been instructed to follow the guidelines," Ray told reporters. 

Chandbali's ZP member candidate Ranjan Sahoo said, "We have organised the event with Covid norms in place. As the event is being held in a village, the residents from nearby villages have come to the place."

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