BJD Against 4 Phase Poll

The Governing Biju Janata Dal (BJD) Monday alleged that Odisha’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Surendra Kumar has not been impartial and accused him of working to favour opposition BJP which is in power at the Centre.

The allegation was made by BJD Spokesman Amar Patnaik while saying that the Election Commission of India announced a four phase of polling in Odisha as per the recommendation made by Mr.Kumar.

While single-phase polling was announced for states with more number of Lok Sabha seats, the decision to hold Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Odisha in four phases appears to have been influenced by BJP,  Mr.Patnaik said.

Noting that Andhra Pradesh with 25 Lok Sabha seats and Gujarat with 26 will have single-phase polling, the bureaucrat turned politician said voting will be staggered in four phases in Odisha which has only 21 parliamentary constituencies.

“Therefore, it appears that that the election schedule has been prepared to suit the BJP. In states like Odisha where BJP’s poll prospects are bleak, multiple phases of elections have been scheduled,” he alleged.

While the state all along witnessed two phase polling in the past, this time it will be conducted in four phases.

The BJD leader also rejected the CEO’s justification that the election in four phases in the state is done keeping in view the Left Wing Extremism. “Maoist problem is also virtually nil in Odisha now,” Mr.Patnaik said.

However, BJD President and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has on Sunday welcomed the poll schedule. "I welcome Election Commission of India’s announcement for elections to #Odisha Assembly & Lok Sabha to be held on 11, 18, 23 & 29 April. Pleased to pledge wholehearted support for the electoral process that is the foundation of our democracy. #LokSabhaElections2019," Mr.Patnaik has tweeted.

BJP also criticized the BJD for raising question on the poll schedule. "Since BJD fears defeat this time, the party is raising the issue," BJP Spokesman Golak Mohapatra said.

Meanwhile, both BJD and the BJP moved the CEO accusing each other of violating model code of conduct. BJP alleged that the ruling BJD is yet to remove hoardings highlighting its welfare programs.

The BJP also alleged that in many PDS outlets, LED bulbs are still being provided to poor household free of cost under ‘Ama Ghare LED Light Karyakrama’ scheme of the state government.
BJD, also moved the CEO and alleged that hoardings and banners of the centre are still being displayed at many places including fuel outlets and airport in violation of model code of conduct.

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