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BJD leaders hit streets

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 29: BJD leaders and ministers have begun campaigning for the municipal corporation elections from Unit-I. But, chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s electioneering plans are yet to be worked out.

Two former councillors said the party might release a ward-wise list of Naveen’s campaign from tomorrow, but parliamentary affairs minister Kalpataru Das and city MLA (Ekamra) Ashok Kumar Panda said nothing had been decided yet.

Sources said the BJD high command had distributed the 67 wards among the ministers and MLAs, so that a thorough campaign could be carried out.

At Unit-I today, minister Kalpataru Das and MLAs Bijay Kumar Mohanty (Bhubaneswar central), Bibhuti Balabantray (Jatni) and Rajendra Kumar Sahu (Khurda) campaigned.

A senior BJD leader, who preferred not to be named, said: “The chief minister will definitely go on the civic poll campaign, but the pre-planned ward-wise visit may not be made public as recently a major security breach has caused a major embarrassment to the state and district administration.”

District Congress president Manoranjan Das, on the other hand, said: “We are going to hit the campaign with central leaders such as Srikant Jena and state leaders such as Narasingh Mishra, Kishore Chandra Patel and Bhupinder Singh. We will start the campaign after January 1.”

The BJP has also decided to utilise the services of its state and national leaders such as K.V. Singhdeo, Biswa Bhusan Harichandan, Jual Oram and Dharmendra Pradhan to carry out its campaign for the civic poll.

“We are yet to decide on the starting date of our campaign,’’ said BJP state executive member Ratikanta Das.

Model code violation

Five observers, appointed by the state election commission, have received 35 complaints of model code of conduct violation. While C.S. Kumar has received 24 complaints, A.K. Manik has received two.

The working style of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation squad to remove unsolicited election materials from the public space has also come under scanner.

Independent candidate from ward No. 61 Mandakini Kar said: “I had registered two complaints regarding model code violation in my ward, but not a single case was addressed. Both the complaints were registered with C.S. Kumar.”

Kar said that while the BJD posters were removed at Bhimatangi following the order of the state election commission a day after the BJD’s foundation day celebration, no action had so far been taken.

“One of my Opposition candidates removed four of my posters yesterday and I have lodged a second complaint on this,” she said.

Sources said not only ward No. 61, complaints were also received from ward Nos. 5, 27, 43, 47 and 60 on the removing of posters by rival candidates or their supporters.

Yesterday, Manik detained an autorickshaw engaged in election campaigning at Kalpana for creating more noise than the prescribed limits.

“I have asked local police to take action as the loudspeaker was making more than 150 decibel noise whereas the prescribed limit during the civic poll is 60 decibel,” he said.

Three expenditure observers are also on the job to check the candidates’ poll expenses. A candidate can spend up to Rs 50,000 during his or her campaign period. The candidates have to make two types of declarations. One form takes care of expenditures in the process of campaigning and the other one deals with expenses within 30 days of the declaration of the results. Both are mandatory.