Pradeep Pattanayak

The Election Commission of India (ECI) seeking clarification from the Odisha government and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) for displaying the party symbol conch through various government-sponsored advertisements has provided the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress a cause to train their guns at the ruling dispensation. 

Acting on the complaints about the misuse of 'conch', the symbol of the BJD, in various government-sponsored advertisements in leading Odia newspapers, TV channels, state transport buses, and through hoardings in different cities, the ECI on Wednesday asked the Chief Secretary of Odisha and the general secretary of the BJD to file responses by March 2nd evening.

Meanwhile, the saffron party and the grand old party have launched a scathing attack on the BJD. 

“Since the ECI has the power, we have also appealed to withdraw and cancel the conch symbol on the grounds that it is being immensely misused,” said BJP state vice president, Jatin Mohanty. 

“We have also appealed before the Orissa High Court to take the total money so far spent on this from its party fund and deposit the same in the government treasury,” he added. 

Similarly, Congress media cell chairman, Biswaranjan Mohanty said, “The state government is spending crores of rupees from the government treasury on party propaganda. We term it unethical.”

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Responding to the comments of the BJP and Congress leaders, BJD MLA Sambit Routray said, “There is nothing wrong in using a conch symbol in the advertisements. Conch is one of the four things Lord Jagannath carries.”

 “The BJD is repeatedly using its conch symbol in its advertisements. They are claiming that the party’s symbol is different from the symbol used in advertisements,” said political analyst Rabi Das.

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