Relief to government: SEC says rout didn’t violate model code - The New Indian Express

Relief to government: SEC says rout didn’t violate model code

Published: 11th September 2013 12:39 PM

Last Updated: 11th September 2013 01:00 PM

The State Election Commission (SEC) on Tuesday gave a clean chit to Health and Family Welfare Minister Damodar Rout over violation of model code of conduct during campaign for the ensuing urban local body (ULB) election even as the Opposition parties demanded his removal.

 The commission clarified that though the minister went to the meeting in a vehicle with red light, it was not flickering. The minister had used a private vehicle during the campaign, the SEC said, adding that it cannot be termed as violation of model code of conduct.

 The minister found himself in trouble after the Dhenkanal Sub-Collector, who is also the election officer, submitted a report to the SEC on Monday stating that Rout had gone to a meeting place in a vehicle having a beacon light. The official had also complained that the minister misbehaved with him when he tried to apprise him about the violation of code of conduct.

 The clean chit given by the SEC to the minister has, however, evoked strong reaction from the Opposition  parties. The Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) submitted a memorandum to the SEC requesting that the decision be reconsidered. The misbehaviour of the minister with an election officer has brought to the fore undemocratic methods used by the BJD to win elections, it said.

 The BJP has also demanded that the minister should be removed. Besides going to the meeting in a vehicle with red light, the minister used harsh language against the election officer, the party said. Rout is  the second leader of the BJD to be embroiled in such a controversy. Minister of State for Steel and Mines Rajani Kanta Singh landed himself in trouble after the fax in his office was used to send the probable list of BJD candidates to the office fax of the Angul Collector. 

The SEC has also asked the Jagatsinghpur Collector to submit a report on the use of college ground by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in the town for landing  his helicopter during election campaign on Sunday. Landing of the Chief Minister’s vehicle does not constitute violation of model code of conduct, but whether the same ground was used by any other BJD leader for any election work has to be ascertained, the commission said.

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