Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, April 16:
In a move that could potentially fall foul of the model code of conduct currently in force for the polls in Odisha, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has called upon the people of the state to celebrate the death anniversary of Biju Patnaik, the man after whom the party is named, in a big way tomorrow, a day that coincides with the second phase of elections in the state.
Observers say the celebrations could transform into mobilistaion of voters in favour of the ruling party and become violative of the code that bars use of undue influence to sway the voters.
In a press release issued last evening, BJD general secretary Narendra Swain had called upon the people all over the state to garland the statue of Biju Patnaik at 7 am, the precise hour when voting starts for the 11 Lok Sabha and 77 Assembly seats.
Opposition parties apprehend that in the name of honouring Biju Patnaik, BJD workers could mobilise voters to vote for the ruling party.
However, the ruling party denies any such motivation behind the move. “Biju Patnaik is a legendary leader and his death anniversary is celebrated every year. This is not the first time it is being celebrated nor will it be the last. So, nothing sinister should be read into it,” said a BJD leader.