BHUBANESWAR: The State Election Commission (SEC) has issued notices to both the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Congress for a hearing on the manifesto issued by the latter for the panchayat polls. The hearing will be held on February 7. In a memorandum submitted to the SEC on January 31, the BJD had requested it to issue a direction to the Congress for the withdrawal of the manifesto, describing it as offensive. The manifesto is a brazen contravention of various provisions of the model code of conduct issued by the SEC and particularly various clauses of chapter-I, II, V and IX A read with Odisha Grama Panchayat Act, 1964 and the IPC 1860, it said.
The BJD had also taken exception to the description of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik as ‘abhijukta’ (accused). The manifesto had also named 13 other ministers for their involvement in scams and irregularities.
The document unfortunately contains extremely offensive language, particularly against the Chief Minister and pictorial images of the Chief Minister, which are inappropriate in the course of a public discourse and election campaign, it said. The Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) had requested three days time to reply to the notice from the SEC.
The SEC had issued notice to the OPCC asking it to explain the contents in pages 3, 9 and 10 of the manifesto.
In its reply, the OPCC said it has not violated the model code of conduct by mentioning about corruption charges against the Chief Minister and other ministers in its manifesto as these were old issues and well known.
Replying to the notice of the SEC, the Congress said reports about the scams and irregularities and the alleged involvement of the Chief Minister and some of the ministers have been published by newspapers. The Congress and other Opposition parties have informed about these to different constitutional authorities and courts many times, it said.