Ramakanta Biswas

Bargarh Collector Monisha Banerjee has ordered transfer of as many as 16 Gram Rozgar Sevaks (GRSs) for allegedly violating the model code of conduct (MCC) which is in force in view of the upcoming by-election to Padampur Assembly constituency. 

The move came after a photo of the GRSs with local elected representatives surfaced. As per sources, the government officials took part in a political programme organised by Minister Rajendra Dholakia and BJD organisational secretary Pranab Prakash Das.

As per an office order issued by the Bargarh Zilla Parishad, the GRSs have been transferred in order to ensure free, fair and transparent election.

“As per the order of Collector and District Magistrate, Bargath dated November 22, 2022, the GRS are found to have been seen in the presence of elected representatives during ensuing by-poll to 01-Padampur AC as wherein MCC is in force and hence in order to ensure free, fair and transparent election they are hereby transferred,” the order read. 

Speaking to OTV over phone, Collector Monisha Banerjee said, “We had received allegations of violation of model code of conduct. When we looked into the allegations, we found a photo in which 16 Gram Rozgar Sevaks (GRSs) were seen in the presence of elected representatives. However, there was no date and time or stamp on the photo and it was sans geotag.”

“As per the direction of the Election Commission of India (ECI), there should be no meeting of government officials with elected representative when the MCC is in force. On that basis, they have been transferred,” she added.

Earlier, a college principal and two teachers were placed under suspension for allegedly attending political meeting in Padampur.

On the other hand, the BJP had moved the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Odisha seeking action against Minister Rajendra Dholakia and Pranab Prakash Das for holding the political meeting in Padampur. The BJP delegation alleged that they are misusing government machinery to influence voters in Padampur.