Despite ban of the State Government on participation of children in rallies and agitations, the ruling BJD party leaders violated it by allowing school going children to go in rallies taken out during filing of nominations for the urban local body elections on Sunday.
Congress, BJP and Independent candidates have strongly criticised BJD for engaging children in election rallies and condemned the district administration for not taking any action against the ruling party candidates.
“Participation of children in election rallies and gatherings is illegal as it violates the Right to Education Act and the Child Right Protection Act. The administration has not yet received any complaint in this regard,” said sub-collector and returning officer Brajabandhu Bhol.
According to sources, on Sunday, students of Deuligrameswar Upper Primary School participated in election rallies taken out to Collectorate ground to file nomination papers of BJD candidate Pranati Sethy of Ward no-17. They were also carrying BJD flags, wearing party caps and shouting slogans to show their support in favour of BJD candidate.
Child Right activist Tilotama Das, Congress leader Debendra Mallick and other Congress candidates said it is unfortunate that ruling party candidates have violated their own Government’s directive. The State Government had announced engaging school children in rallies and protests as “illegal” after Posco Pratirodha Sangram Samiti mobilised children to strengthen anti-Posco movement. Even, the district administration had taken action against the violators. Meanwhile, 56 candidates of Congress, BJD and BJP have filed their nomination papers for Jagatsinghpur Municipality poll on Sunday. Congress and BJD have fielded their candidates in all 21 wards while BJP has nominees in nine and independent in five wards.
Official sources said the municipality has 23,485 voters including 12,272 male and 11,213 female.
Administration has decided to open 27 booths in 21 wards for smooth and incident-free poll. There are 14 hyper sensitive and seven sensitive booths. Nearly 124 employees would be pressed into service to conduct election.