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Lok Sabha Elections 2024: BJD accuses BJP leader of using children in poll campaign

Meanwhile, a delegation of the BJP also met the CEO and submitted a petition alleging that the ruling BJD has violated the model code of conduct by using the police in its favour.
Last Updated : 19 April 2024, 17:08 IST
Last Updated : 19 April 2024, 17:08 IST

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Bhubaneswar: The ruling BJD on Friday moved Odisha’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), seeking action against BJP MP candidate from Bhubaneswar, Aparajita Sarangi, for alleged misuse of children in Lok Sabha poll campaigns.

“It has come to our notice that Sarangi has been using small children in BJP election meetings and rallies for political gains. This is a clear violation of ethical norms and the rights of children, who should not be exploited for mere political interests of any party,” the BJD wrote in its memorandum.

The party also alleged in its petition that similar violations are being repeated by the BJP candidate.

She had earlier engaged underage children in election campaigning in the Jatani assembly segment in Khurda district in adverse weather conditions, the BJD claimed.

This time, the BJP candidate has placed the party scarf on a child's shoulder while campaigning along with the BJP’s Bhubaneswar Ekamra MLA candidate Babu Singh, the BJD alleged.

Seeking immediate and strict action against Sarangi, the BJD urged the CEO to ensure that she does not use children or infants in any form in her political rallies or events.

“Such actions should serve as a deterrent to others and uphold the sanctity of our democratic process,” it added.

The regional party on April 15, had also lodged a complaint against BJP’s Kendrapara Lok Sabha candidate Baijayant Panda for allegedly using children during an election campaign at Tikanpur panchayat under Garadpur block the previous day.

Meanwhile, a delegation of the BJP also met the CEO and submitted a petition alleging that the ruling BJD has violated the model code of conduct by using the police in its favour.

In a petition, the party mentioned that some locals put a poser before Law Minister Jagannath Saraka over drinking water scarcity during his visit to Bissamkatak under the Muniguda area in Rayagada district recently.

“At this time, some people, who were accompanying the Minister, attacked the locals. The Minister remained a mute spectator. Though five days have passed since the victims filed a complaint, the police have not taken any action yet,” the BJP petition alleged.

The saffron party said that police inaction is a clear violation of the model code of conduct.

The party demanded that stringent action be taken against the Minister, attackers, and the police at the earliest.

The BJP delegation led by party spokesperson Satyabrata Panda also informed the CEO that some policemen, affiliated to the Havildar Sangha, were seen holding BJD flags and singing the song 'Naveen Babu, Ame Tuma Fan' (Naveen Babu, we are your fan).“We expect an impartial role of police during the elections,” Panda said.

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Published 19 April 2024, 17:08 IST

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