Poll code violation: Opposition bays for minister

Bhubaneswar: It seems as the date of election to urban local bodies (ULBs) in State approaches, the ruling BJD is inviting more troubles for itself. Steel and Mines minister Rajnikant Singh’s alleged August 21 fax to Angul district collector’s office bearing a party communication cost him so much that both the Congress and BJP are now demanding resignation of the minister.
 
Members of both the parties on Monday called on Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Ajit Tripathy and demanded disciplinary action against the minister.
 
“It’s surprising that the Collectors' office was used for BJD’s party matter when the model code of conduct is in force. It is a clear case of misusing official machinery for elections and we demand disciplinary action against the minister as per law for violating code of conduct,” OPCC president Jaydev Jena rued.
 
The BJP also came forward to join hands with the Congress and said the blatant misuse of official machinery by the ruling BJD in the upcoming ULB polls was evident from the manner in which the District Collector of Angul was transferred soon after the matter came to the fore.
 
“From prima facie, after the transfer of the Collector it is understood that the matter has truth and the SEC has already indicated the violation of code of conduct,” stated BJP’s Manmohan Samal.
 
“He must resign on moral grounds and if he is not quitting, the CM should dismiss him from ministry immediately,” added he.
 
Singh, on the other hand reiterated his stand on the issue. 
“Had I intentionally sent the letter through fax, I would not have given it to the media. There is no involvement of the minister in this case and I will stand by my earlier statement that the matter has taken place without the knowledge of the minister,” quipped Singh.
 
Replying to media queries, the SEC however said, “We have received their request in written and will examine the matter.”
 
The members of the political parties alleged that on August 21 the minister had sent a fax message from his government land phone to the official telephone of Angul Collector having the list of BJD candidates of the district.