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BJD takes BJP to poll panel

Naveen Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: A BJD delegation on Friday met the state's chief electoral officer and accused BJP leaders of making derogatory remarks against chief minister Naveen Patnaik.

BJD general secretary Bijoy Nayak said: "We have submitted a CD to the chief electoral officer on how the BJP leaders are making objectionable comments against the chief minister crossing all the limits of decency."

In New Delhi, a delegation of BJD MPs - Bhartruhari Mahtab, Pinaki Mishra and Rabindra Jena - on Friday met the Chief Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat and alleged that the BJP was violating the electoral norms.

"They have submitted theirs list of star campaigner after the prescribed time period. It should be rejected," Mishra said.

BJP spokesperson Sajjan Sharma said: "They should not teach us when we have to submit the campaigner list."

BJP sources said the revised list of campaigners, including BJP president Amit Shah and Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh, whose name the BJP had indicated earlier, however, was not in the list for obvious political reasons.

Singh, who had campaigned for the BJP during the zilla parishad elections in west Odisha where the party had put up an impressive show, seems to have been dropped as the BJD and the Congress has been targeting him on the sensitive Mahanadi river issue.

The two parties had made it clear that Singh must stop all construction activities in his state and apologise to the people of Odisha before coming to Bijepur.

Sharma, however, said due to paucity of time Singh would not be able to visit Bijepur. The BJP's list of campaigners has the name of Shah and 39 others.

In a memorandum to the state electoral officer, the BJD demanded that the expenses of all the central BJP leaders visiting Bijepur, which includes six central ministers and Shah, should be treated as the candidate's expense since Narendra Modi's party did not submit its list of star campaigners within seven days.

Earlier on Thursday, the BJP had moved the state electoral officer accusing violation of model code of conduct by BJD MLA and former minister Arun Sahoo. The BJP alleged that Sahoo had lured voters with cheap rice and old age pension schemes at a meeting in Charapali panchayat in Bijepur block on February 7.

The BJP had submitted video clippings to the electoral officer. Sahoo had been accused of promising to reward the village that would cast the highest number of votes for the BJD.

Refuting the charges, BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb said: "Sahoo is not the party's star campaigner and people doesn't vote on the basis of his statements. He only presented his views."

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