EC seeks clarification from Odisha govt, ruling BJD over use of party symbol in govt ads

The poll panel had received complaints that the 'conch' symbol of BJD was being displayed and promoted through various advertisements.

February 28, 2024 10:51 pm | Updated 10:51 pm IST - New Delhi

The Election Commission has sought a clarification from the Odisha government and the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) over the alleged use of party's 'conch' symbol in advertisements issued using public funds, sources said on Wednesday.

The Commission has sought their responses by March 2 evening.

Assembly polls in Odisha would be held along with Lok Sabha elections, likely during April-May. Model Code of Conduct has not come into effect yet.

The poll panel had received complaints that the 'conch' symbol of BJD was being displayed and promoted through various advertisements in leading Odisha newspapers, TV channels, state transport buses and by way of hoardings in different cities. The EC, under Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, has been following a stringent policy to ensure level-playing field for all parties and candidates.

According to the sources, the Commission viewed the advertisements being in violation of its instructions issued in October 2016.

"The Commission is of the view that utilising public funds/public places for promoting any political party or propagating its election symbol would be antithetical to the concept of free and fair election and the principle of level playing field for all stakeholders," the instructions had said.

The commission had directed that no political party will either use or allow the use of any public fund or public place or government machinery for carrying out any activity that would amount to advertisement for the party or propagating the election symbol allotted to it.

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