Manifesto controversy deepens

Bhubaneswar: The manifesto controversy today deepened further with the Congress party which in its manifesto for the panchayat polls has leveled corruption charges against fourteen ministers in the Naveen Pattnaik cabinet challenging the ruling Biju Janata Dal to move the court against it. The BJD had earlier demanded that the state election commission should ban the Congress manifesto as it violated the election code.

On the eve of the panchayat polls the two main political parties in the state, the BJD and the Congress, have started a verbal duel over the inclusion of corruption charges against 14 ministers of the Naveen cabinet in page number nine of the Congress manifesto. The BJD has urged the state election commission to ban the manifesto alleging that the publication of the charges amounted to violation of election code.

But the top leadership of the Congress today in a media conference stuck to its allegations raised in the manifesto. Said Niranjan Pattnaik,”The charges are based on facts. If the ruling BJD wants it can go to the court.” The BJD on the other hand argued that the election code entailed all the political parties not to raise non-establised allegations against each other. Argued Prafulla Ghadai, finance minister and BJD vice-president,”The Congress has clearly violated the election code by publishing such objectionable things and we have urged the election commission to take action against the Congress.”

The state election commissioner Ajit Kumar Tripathy told that the commission was studying the allegations raised by the BJD and decision would be taken very soon on the demands made by the BJD.

The Congress had released its 16-page manifesto for the ensuing panchayat polls. While the Congress has levelled corruption allegations against 14 ministers, it also slammed the government on 26 accounts thus raising the heckles of the ruling BJD.