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Sharmili Mallick

Puri: Puri District Collector-cum-District Election Officer on Tuesday issued a show-cause notice to BJP’s Puri Lok Sabha candidate Sambit Patra for allegedly violating the model code of conduct (MCC) by taking out a campaign rally without obtaining necessary permission from competent authority.

Patra had allegedly taken out a political rally from Uttara to Puri without taking prior permission from the Election Commission.

Alleging violation of poll code, a four-member team of Odisha Congress had met the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) yesterday and lodged a complaint against Patra.

Based on the complaint, Puri Collector Jyoti Prakash Dash issued a show cause notice to Patra seeking his explanation in connection with the matter within three days.

“He (Patra) took out a rally to Puri without taking permission from the authorities which is a violation of MCC. Besides, party flags were used in the procession and traffic regulations were also violated during the procession. Basing on the video clips recorded by our flying squad, the notice was served to him,” informed Dash.

Patra on the other hand said that he had not received any notice in connection with the matter so far, but clarified that going to have darshan of Lord Jagannath was not at all a violation of poll code.

"We did not organise any rally but were heading for darshan of Lord Jagannath. People spotted me while I was going to Srimandir and since I was already selected as a candidate from Puri Lok Sabha seat, the public welcomed me. I always abide by the rule of the elections so I will definitely reply once I receive the notice.”

Taking a dig at ruling BJD and opposition Congress, Patra questioned, "If people are showering blessings on me why are the BJD and Congress getting jittery? I am an Odia and as always, I will definitely visit Srimandir. If people saw me and welcomed me, where does the problem lie?"

It may be noted that the BJP leader has also drawn flak from servitor community and other quarters for carrying an idol of Lord Jagannath during his rally.

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