Odisha Elections: BJP Cites Indira Gandhi Case To Advise Naveen Patnaik To Skip Contest For Poll Code Violation

Bhubaneswar: Alleging corruption of Rs 40,000 crore in the name of 5T initiative of the Odisha government, Bharatiya Janaga Party (BJP) on Thursday accused Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of having violated the model code of conduct (MCC) in force for the upcoming elections.

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Addressing a press meet in Bhubaneswar, state BJP spokesperson Anil Biswal alleged that Naveen Patnaik has violated the MCC as the name of 5T and chairman V K Pandian continued to be in the list of officials in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) even after the poll code came into force.

Stating that the name of Pandian was removed from the CMO website on April 8 at instruction from the Election Commission of India (ECI) following BJP’s complaint, Biswal said the name of 5T chairman remained in the list of CMO officials even after MCC came into force on March 16.

Therefore, Naveen should not contest the upcoming elections as he has violated the poll code between March 16 and April 8 and Pandian continued to work both for the CMO and BJD simultaneously, the BJP leader claimed. It showed that the CMO was engaged in the political work of the ruling BJD, he claimed.

Citing Indira Gandhi case, Biswal said the Chief Minister should give a clarification and refrain from contesting elections to avoid a similar episode. If the CM contests and wins, his election would be in question for gross violation of poll code, he said.

Dubbing 5T initiative as a political programme used by the BJD government denigrating democratic and constitutional norms, Biswal Biswal also demanded recovery of Rs 500 crore allegedly used for publicity of 5T in the state. The amount should be included in the election expenditure of the ruling BJD, he said.

Terming 5T as a mega scam of the decade, the BJP leader alleged that corruption to the tune of Rs 40,000 crore took place under the initiative and a thorough investigation must be conducted into the whole programme.

The CM should also tender an apology to the people allowing denigration of constitutional and democratic principles and undermining Odia pride in the name of 5T, he said, adding that the ruling BJD should also apologise before the people for using 5T in utter disregard for democratic norms in the state.

Stating that the saffron party has already demanded removal of D S Kutey from the CMO, the BJP leader alleged that another officer Gopabandhu Das, who is in CMO, participated in BJD campaign during panchayat elections. Therefore, he must be removed from the CMO forthwith and the party would move the ECI on the issue, he added.

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