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BJP accuses Naveen of violating model code to favour Posco

BJP accused Naveen Patnaik of violating model code of conduct by allotting iron-ore mines to Posco three days prior to the polling.

Written by Agencies | Bhubaneswar |
May 11, 2009 3:19:58 pm

BJP on Monday accused Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of violating model code of conduct by allotting iron-ore mines three days prior to polling to the South Korean steel major and asked the Election Commission to take penal action against the BJD president and errant state government officials.

“The model code of conduct was violated by none other than the chief minister to allot iron-ore mines to the South Korean steel major Posco three days prior to polling,” state BJP president Suresh Pujari and other senior party leaders alleged at a press conference after sending a memorandum to the EC.

The first phase of polling was held in Orissa on April 16 and the second phase on April 23. In between on April 19,the chief minister passed orders favouring Posco with mining lease over 25 sq km at Khandadhar in Sundargarh district,Pujari alleged and distributed copies of the government order.

Such an important decision was taken without prior approval of the Election Commission,Pujari and party leaders Jual Oram,Bijoy Mohapatra,B K Tripathy and B B Harichandan said.

Urging the EC to stay the order passed by the chief minister on April 19,the BJP leaders said Steel and Mines Minister Pradip Amat was busy campaigning in Boudh and rushed to clear the file in violation of the model code of conduct.

Mohapatra claimed the file was with the chief minister since April 5 and Patnaik signed it favouring Posco on April 19. “Why did it take so many days if the matter was so urgent,” he asked.

This is a “brazen display” of misuse of authority for “personal/party gains” as it is established on record that there was neither any urgency for the chief minister to sign the file then nor there was any court directive in the matter,the BJP memorandum to the EC said.

Senior government officials,however,maintained that the order was passed in complaince with an high court order and there was no violation of model code of conduct as it was a routine affair.

Urging the commission to call for all records and files relating to the grant of mines to Posco during elections,Pujari and Mohapatra said all officials,ministers and the chief minister should be summoned to depose before the EC in this regard through affidavit.

“The commission should also take appropriate penal action against the chief minister and other errant officials for the inexecusable blunder,” they said.

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