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Election Commission Seeks Clarification from Odisha Govt on Alleged Use of BJD Symbol in Advertisements

Bhubaneswar: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued a notice seeking clarification from the Odisha government over the alleged use of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) party’s symbol in its advertisements. The Commission took this step in response to complaints regarding the prominent display of the ‘conch’ symbol of the BJD in various government scheme advertisements across newspapers, television channels, and large hoardings.

According to sources, the Election Commission received complaints pointing out the violation of its instructions issued in October 2016. These instructions explicitly stated that using public funds or public places to promote a political party or propagate its election symbol goes against the principles of free and fair elections and the concept of providing a level playing field for all stakeholders.

The ECI’s directive from 2016 also explicitly urged political parties to refrain from using public funds, public places, or government machinery for activities that could be construed as advertisements for the party or the promotion of its allotted election symbol.

The Election Commission has directed the Chief Secretary of Odisha and the general secretary of the BJD to provide clarification on the matter by the evening of March 2. This development comes in the context of the upcoming simultaneous Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in Odisha, expected to take place in April-May.

As the electoral landscape unfolds, the Election Commission’s scrutiny underscores the importance of maintaining fairness, transparency, and adherence to electoral guidelines in the run-up to the elections in the state.

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