BHUBANESWAR: The State Election Commission (SEC) on Tuesday reserved its ruling on the Congress manifesto issue after hearing both the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Congress.
The hearing continued for two hours before State Election Commissioner Ajit Kumar Tripathy. While Lok Sabha member Pinaki Mishra, former Rajya Sabha member Sashibhusan Behera and general secretary Narendra Swain represented the BJD, the Congress was led by vice-president of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Sibananda Ray and three other advocates.
In the 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, terming it mala fide.
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 alleged involvement in scams and irregularities. Extremely offensive language was used in the document, particularly against the Chief Minister and pictorial images of him, which are inappropriate in the course of a public discourse and election campaign, it said.
Following the complaint, the SEC had issued notice to the OPCC asking it to explain the contents on the pages 3,9 and 10 of the manifesto.
In its reply, the OPCC said that it had 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.