BJD MLA’s Birthday Celebration: Odisha Headmistress Suspended For Poll Code Violation

Jajpur: Days after birthday celebration of senior BJD leader and Dharmasala MLA Pranab Balabantaray in a government school  sparked a row, Jajpur Collector Chakravarti Singh Rathore suspended the headmistress for alleged violation of model code of conduct (MCC), which is in force in the Dharmasala area for Zilla Parishad by-election on August 9.

Headmistress in-charge of Bajragiri Project Upper Primary School in Dharmasala block, Sadhana Bhanja, had allegedly participating in the birthday celebration on July 23.

“Mrs Sadhana Bhanja has been placed under suspension for violation of Model Code of Conduct in connection with by-election to Panchayati Raj institutions (PRIs) 2023 pending finalisation of departmental proceedings as per Rule 12 of OCS (CCA) Rules, 1962,” said the collector in his order on Monday.

During the period of suspension, the headquarters of Bhanja has been fixed at District Education Office (DEO) at Jajpur, it added.

Biju Chhatra Janata Dal members had celebrated Balabantaray’s birthday at school in Kotapur gram panchayat with much fanfare in the presence of students, teachers and local BJD leaders. Though the MLA was not present, his supporters had displayed a banner in the school building with a photograph of Balabantaray along with ‘Happy Birthday Bhai’ written on it.

Following the allegation, which invited sharp criticism from opposition leaders, Jajpur in-charge DEO Rajesh Kumar Swain served a show cause notice to the headmistress of the school and directed the Dharmasala block education officer to submit a detailed report on the incident. The headmistress was then placed under suspension on the charges of breaching MCC.

While BJP leader and its district unit president Gautam Ray criticised the BJD and school authorities for celebrating Balabantaray’s birthday in the school, Congress leader and former minister Sarat Rout had demanded stern action against the teachers and BJD leaders.

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