Pradeep Pattanayak

The leaders of the state BJP unit on Thursday staged a dharna in front of the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Odisha, demanding the immediate arrest of BJD leaders V K Pandian and Pranab Prakash Das.

The leaders demanded immediate arrest of Pandian and Das alleging their role in the broadcast of the exit polls by an Odisha-based private news channel with an intention to confuse and mislead the voters and people’s mandate in the state. 

On Wednesday, the BJP moved the Chief Election Commissioner of India against the Odisha-based news channel for relaying exit polls when there is a ban on airing exit polls as the last phase of the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections are scheduled to be held on June 1.

Also Read | BJP takes dig at Odisha CM Naveen on his statement ‘VK Pandian, not my successor’

On the same day, the Election Commission of India directed the CEO, Odisha to take necessary action and submit a compliance report to the Commission by 5.30 PM on May 30. 

“Now, there being a restriction on telecasting exit polls, no regional or national news channels are airing such programmes. In spite of this, yesterday a private news channel aired exit polls which were prepared in such a way to mislead Odisha people. We demand the immediate arrest of the concerned authority of the said news channel and those who are involved in the incident,” said BJP leader Babu Singh. 

“VK Pandian and Pranab Prakash Das are behind the conspiracy. They should also be arrested,” he added. 

“In the past, the ECI took stern action against two national channels for the same reason. We demand the concerned channel should be blacked out till the completion of the election process,” said Jagannath Pradhan, a BJP leader.

No response was received from the BJD and the concerned authorities.

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