Cong, BJP accuse Naveen of flouting model code

Bhubaneswar: Opposition Congress and BJP today accused ruling BJD President and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of violating model code of conduct for next month`s panchayat polls.

Patnaik allowed candidates contesting for the posts of sarpanch, member of the panchayat samiti and ward member to share the podium at the rural election meeting held at Tangi in Khurda district on Sunday, alleged senior Congress leader Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra.

"All of us have seen Patnaik introducing Sarpanch, Panchayat Samiti Member and ward member candidates at the dais. This is a clear violation of code of conduct," Mohapatra told reporters. Senior BJP leader and former law minister B B Harichandan also demanded action against the chief minister accusing him of violating model code of conduct for the rural polls. "The chief minister has no respect for the state election commissioner," Harichandan alleged.

"The opposition parties are used to making such allegation. We are not in the habit of violating any law," the chief minister told reporters to a question on the allegation made by the opposition. According to the model code of conduct for the ensuing rural polls, the candidates contesting for the post of ward member, sarpanch and panchayat samiti member cannot use party symbols. The elections for the three posts will be held without any political party affiliation, the State Election Commission had categorically said in its advisory to political parties.