SEC allows PM to visit Congress Bhavan

Bhubaneswar: State Election Commission today allowed Odisha unit of Congress to go ahead with the scheduled programme of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s visit to the state party headquarters here on January 3.

"We have informed the Odisha PCC that the SEC has no objection if the prime minister does not make any public speech during the visit," SEC Ajit Kumar Tripathy said adding the state party president had assured the Commission that the PM would visit Congress Bhavan and meet some leaders there.

Asked whether there was any restriction on the Prime Minister making a speech as the model code of conduct was in force for the upcoming rural polls, Tripathy said "Yes the PM can address a public meeting or even an election meeting. But since he is coming here on an official visit, organisers had sought permission from the SEC."

According to the programme, the PM will visit the Congress Bhavan at Master Canteen Square after inaugurating the 99the Indian Science Congress tomorrow morning. "We will draw attention of the prime minister to drought and flood situations in the state besides the demand on according special category state staus to Odisha," OPCC President Niranjan Patnaik said.