Code violation: Red beacon trouble for Health Min

Bhubaneswar: After Steel and Mines minister Rajnikant Singh, its the turn of Health minister Damodar Rout now. Rout landed in trouble on Monday after the BJP complained today with the State Election Commission (SEC) that the minister had violated the model code of conduct by using red beacon during a poll campaign in Dhenkanal on Saturday.
 
State BJP spokesperson Sajjan Sharma alleged that even if the district election officer and sub-collector apprised Rout regarding the poll code when the latter was in Hataroad to attend a BJD meeting, the minister misbehaved them. 
 
“It is not at all acceptable from a minister. How can he abuse the election officer and the sub-collector who briefed him (Rout) about the code of conduct that is currently in force for the ULB polls,” Sharma questioned.
 
Reiterating the party’s stand on the ‘anonymous fax’ issue of Singh, the saffron party this time too demanded that the health minster must be expelled from the ministry. 
 
“The SEC should recommend the chief minister about the dismissal of Rout for misutilising govt machinery in the country’s democratic electoral process,” stated he.
 
But the BJD vice-president was prompt to repudiate the charges levelled against him.
 
“I have 40 years of experience in politics and I know what is poll code,” Rout said.  
 
“It is clearly mentioned that the red beacon must not be used by the ministers during election campaign and I have not done that at all. I know the flag code. If the red light is fickering atop the vehicle, then it’s a violation. In my vehicle the light was there but it was not blowing,” he clarified.
 
Notably, a list of BJD’s probable candidates for Angul municipality was allegedly sent through fax to the collector’s office on August 21 from the office of Rajnikant Singh who is an MLA from the district. 
 
The SEC, after the matter came to light had recommended the State government for action against Angul collector Arvind Agrawal following which he was transferred.