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Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

Alleged violation of the Covid norms by candidates belonging to the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) during the filing of nomination papers on the last day of the process in Keonjhar has drawn criticism of the Opposition.

As per reports, several candidates had arrived at the sub-collector's office in Keonjhar to file their nomination papers on Friday. 

However, many candidates from the ruling party who filed papers for Zilla Parishad member came in a procession with a huge crowd of supporters. Moreover, many BJD leaders also swarmed in with hundreds of supporters.

Even though the Inspector-In-Charge (IIC) of the Town Police Station was present at the spot, he allegedly didn’t take any action. 

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s chief whip Mohan Majhi condemned the inaction of police and lashed out at the BJD leaders, candidates and workers for such carelessness during the pandemic. 

“In view of the Covid situation in the State, the government had issued a set of guidelines, according to which no candidate was allowed to organise rally and/or gathering at public places. It was mandated for every party to follow the rules,” said Majhi.

Further, Majhi said, “While BJP candidates followed the Covid SoP, BJD candidates violated the norms and came in a huge rally to file their nomination papers.”

Majhi also stated that all candidates are capable of organising huge rallies and gathering people to show their power. 

Terming the the incident as 'unfortunate', Majhi condemned the inaction of the administration towards the violators.

“The inaction of police and district administration against the violators is condemnable,” he added.

However, the BJD candidates have a different story to narrate. 

Ashish Chakraborty, a BJD candidate from Zone-6 said, “Opposition will always oppose everything. Around 12 candidates today filed their nomination papers and each of the candidates were accompanied by 4-5 supporters. This can’t be called a ‘huge rally’. We have followed the Covid norms and other rules stated by the State Election Commission (SEC).” 

Meanwhile, the IIC of Town police station remained mum over the incident when asked about the permission granting to the BJD candidates to conduct a rally when the Covid guidelines are in force.

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