Code violation: SEC seeks report from Collector

Bhubaneswar: Taking suo motu cognizance of media reports, Odisha State Election Commission (SEC) today sought a report from Khurda district collector on alleged violation of model code of conduct for February panchayat polls by ruling BJD president and chief minister Naveen Patnaik.

"The commission has sought a report from the Khurda district collector on alleged violation of code of conduct at a meeting held at Tangi on Sunday," a senior official in SEC said. The district collector has been asked to submit its report to SEC within 24 hours, he said.

Patnaik has, however, rubbished the allegation saying "It is a habit of the opposition parties to make such allegation against me. We do not have the habit of breaking any law." Patnaik had allegedly shared dais at an election meeting in Tangi with candidates contesting for the posts of sarpanch, member panchayat samiti and ward members. The elections to these posts were held without any party symbol. Therefore, leaders of different political parties were not supposed to campaign for them.

"All of us have seen Patnaik introducing the sarpanch, panchayat samiti member and ward member candidates at the dais. This is a clear violation of code of conduct," senior Congress leader L B Mohapatra has alleged and sought SEC permission to allow other leaders to campaign for their candidates also contesting for these three posts. Demanding action against the chief minister, senior BJP leader and former law minister B B Harichandan alleged that Patnaik had no respect for the state election commissioner.