The ruling BJD today alleged that the newspaper advertisement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing packages for farmers, self-help groups and others is in clear violation of the model code of conduct which is in force for the three-tier panchayat elections in Odisha. A party delegation led by vice-president S N Patro today submitted a petition to the State Election Commission alleging that the advertisement of PM’s announcement was opposed to the Model Code of Conduct in force since December 27.
In its petition, the BJD said the Centre issued an advertisement in an Odia daily regarding launch of a scheme and announcement of packages for farmers, SHGs with the picture of Prime Minister in a “gross violation of the code of conduct in vogue in the state.”
BJD requested the SEC to intervene and direct “forthwith the Centre to stop this propaganda and take stringent action against such violations.”
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Rejecting the ruling party’s allegation, BJP leader K V Singh Deo said the packages announced by the PM were meant for the entire country and not just Odisha, where panchayat elections are due.
The State Election Commission had on Saturday imposed restrictions on campaigns promoting central government schemes in Odia newspapers and channels in view of the upcoming panchayat elections in the state.
The Commission also restricted distribution of leaflets and books highlighting the state government schemes at PDS distribution centres, involvement of government officials in election campaigns and backdated work orders.
The SEC directive came in the wake of allegations made by the ruling BJD on two campaigns of the Centre – Ujjwal Yojana and Swachh Bharat Mission – carried in Odia print and electronic media after the model code of conduct came into force.
State Election Commissioner Rabi Narayan Senapati has directed the Union Government to stop promotion of its schemes in the local media at government expenditure as that tantamounts to violation of the model code of conduct.
The SEC has also ordered the Collectors to desist from distributing booklets at PDS centres, involvement of Child Development Officers in election campaigns and issuing backdated work orders in their districts as alleged by the opposition BJP.