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Keep rural volunteers out of electioneering: EC tells Odisha

Posted on Apr 02 2014 | IANS

Bhubaneswar, April 2 : Taking strong note of the allegations that the services of Bharat Nirman Volunteers are being misused in Odisha, the Election Commission Wednesday directed the state government to keep them out of the electioneering.

"Some political parties informed us that the services of the Bharat Nirman Volunteers are being misused. The commission directs that these volunteers will not be used in any election activities," Syed Nasim Ahmad Zaidi, one of the Election Commissioners, told reporters here.

Election Commissioners H.S. Brahma and Zaidi gave the direction after holding meetings with the representatives of different political parties here.

Both the commissioners who arrived here Wednesday, also met state officials.

Bharat Nirman Volunteers are appointed by the government in rural areas to act as a link between a group of families and the government. They work to ensure the households can access benefits under various government sponsored programmes.

The opposition parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party, alleged the state government has been using them for its political campaign in the name of electoral awareness.

The BJP recently also filed a petition before the commission.

Polling for the 21 Lok Sabha seats in the state and to the 147-member assembly would be simultaneously held April 10 and 17.

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