BHUBANESWAR: National BJP president Amit Shah, union ministers Smriti Irani, Dharmendra Pradhan, Jual Oram and Radha Mohan Singh are among the senior leaders to campaign for the party in the bypoll to the Bijepur assembly constituency even as more than two dozen BJD ministers and MLAs are camping in the segment to ensure victory for its nominee.
However, though it is expected that Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh will campaign in the by-poll, his name is not in the list of star campaigners submitted by the BJP to the Election Commission of India (ECI). BJP spokesperson Sajjan Sharma said the list was submitted on February 5, 2018 to the ECI.
The list of star campaigners of the BJP also includes BJP national general secretary (organisation) Ramlalji, national secretary Soudan Singh, Odisha in-charge Arun Singh, union ministers Giriraj Singh, Ram Kripal Yadav and Babul Supriyo. Former chief minister Giridhar Gamang is also among the other state leaders who will woo the voters on behalf of the BJP in the bypoll.
Meanwhile, the BJD today demanded that as the BJP failed to submit the list of its star campaigners to the ECI or the chief electoral officer (CEO) within seven days of the notification of the bypoll, all the expenses incurred in the electioneering by the leaders should be included in the expenditure of the candidate.
Party spokesperson Sasmit Patra and state BJD secretary Bijay Nayak today demanded at a media conference that the expenses incurred for the campaign of national BJP president and six union ministers should be included in expenditure of the party candidate as the party has violated rules by not submitting the list within seven days of the issue of notification by the ECI for the bypoll.
In a memorandum submitted to the CEO here on Thursday, BJD had demanded that the Commission should not approve any list of star campaigners after the stipulated date. “The case of any person campaigning as star campaigner for any political party without the approval of the Commission may be decided as per rule and expenses incurred by him may be charged to the election expenses of the candidate,” the memorandum said.
BJD MPs Bhatruhari Mahatab, Pinaki Mishra and Rabindra Jena raised the issue with the ECI at New Delhi today.