The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Monday alleged that the four-phase election schedule for Odisha announced by the Election Commission of India (ECI) is intended to help BJP electorally in the state.
It must be mentioned here that single-phase polling has been announced for some states with relatively more number of Lok Sabha seats. The Spokesperson of BJD Mr. Amar Patnaik accused the ECI of getting influenced by the ruling party at the centre i.e., BJP.
States such as Andhra Pradesh (25 LS seats) and Gujarat (26 LS seats) shall have single-phase polling, whereas Odisha with only 21 LS seats has been given a four-phase poll schedule, alleged Mr. Amar Patnaik.
"Therefore, it appears that the election schedule has been prepared to suit the BJP’s electoral prospects. In states such as Odisha, where BJP's poll prospects are bleak, multiple phases of elections have been scheduled," he said.
There is no logic behind holding the elections in four phases in Odisha, the BJD leader said, adding that the Maoist problem has also almost ended in the state, so the possibility of poll related violence is also very minimal.
The allegation levelled by Mr Patnaik was in sharp contrast to that of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's response.
The BJD president has 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 had tweeted.
Dismissing the BJD's allegation, state BJP Spokesperson Golak Mohapatra said, "Since BJD fears defeat this time, the party is raising the issue in desperation." Meanwhile, both the BJP and the BJD on Monday traded charges accusing each other of violating the model code of conduct.
A BJP delegation met the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) and submitted a memorandum alleging that the ruling BJD is yet to remove the hoardings highlighting its welfare programmes.