Govt officials in poll campaigning: SEC action against 40

Bhubaneswar: In another glaring example of how the model code of conduct for Panchayat Polls is being blatantly violated, the State Election Commission (SEC) has initiated action against government officials on poll duty over allegations of their involvement in poll campaigning.

In one such instance, the Pattamundai BDO was transferred for not being impartial while carrying out his duties. For violation of model code of conduct, the Nayagarh Odapara BDO was also transferred. In another case, the Astarang BDO was seen with a sarpanch candidate during night following which objections were raised by locals. The SEC has received complaints and taken action against teachers and various block officials involved in campaigning for candidates.

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Though the Chief Secretary of Odisha had directed the government officials to stay away from campaigning, there have been umpteen instances where officials are found to be violating the directions.

“Despite clear instructions from the chief secretary, it is observed that some officials are getting themselves involved in poll campaigning. Strict action will be taken against errant officials by the district collectors and SPs. We have suspended a lot of people in the meantime and action is being taken,” said SEC secretary, Rabindranath Sahoo.

Such violations have been termed as misuse of power by the ruling-BJD alleged opposition parties.

“This is a blatant misuse of the government machinery. The government officials are now involved in violating the law in a bid to appease their employer,” said chief spokesperson of BJP, Sajjan Sharma.

“The officials who were appointed to manage the elections are now getting involved in campaigning and influencing the elections,” said PCC president, Prasad Harichandan.

Countering the allegations BJD spokesperson, Sashibhushan Behera said “How can BJD misuse power? It’s inappropriate to consider as BJD as the government. The government officials are with the BJD government not with the BJD party.”

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