Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

While the political parties have already blown the bugle of campaigning for the forthcoming Padampur by-election, a delegation of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) met the Odisha Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) on Saturday alleging participation of government employees in the campaigning activities. 

A team led by State BJP’s General Secretary Golak Mohapatra met the CEO and demanded to remove the government officials from the polling-related activities in poll-bound Padampur. Instead, the party has demanded to employ officials from some other place. 

Moreover, the party has also demanded to impose a ban on carrying mobile phones to polling stations. 

“We have demanded the CEO that no government employees should get involved in any kind of work of BJD directly. No employee under the Padampur constituency should get involved in any kind of polling activities,” said Golak Mohapatra.

'Violation' of Model Code of Conduct in Padampur

On the other hand, while the Model Code of Conduct is enforced in Padampur, it has been alleged that BJD leader and Minister Rohit Pujari held meetings at different educational institutes, i.e. Padampur Public School and Jaydev Institute of Science and Technology. Moreover, it has also been alleged that the teachers of several government schools in the area participated in the meeting. 

A video, purportedly showing the presence of the teachers has surfaced, which triggered resentment among BJP leaders following which a team met Padampur's Additional Collector and Returning officer alleging violations of the Model Code of Conduct. 

“How did they hold a meeting when the Model Code of Conduct is enforced in the poll-bound constituency? Several lecturers and teachers from different educational institutes in Padampur were present at the meeting. We have demanded to investigate into the matter and take required action,” said Manoj Mohapatra, BJP spokesperson. 

Meanwhile, senior BJD leader Prasanna Acharya refuted the allegations and said, “They (BJP) are creating a false alarm. It is BJP that has been violating the Model Code of Conduct but is blaming others. It is indeed outrageous. BJD doesn’t need to fear anyone as we work peacefully.”