BJP moves ECI over huge security cover for Odisha CM’s close aide VK Pandian

Odisha Politics

Bhubaneswar, March 30: A delegation of Odisha unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJD) on Saturday knocked the door of Election Commission of India (ECI) and lodged a protest against the State Government providing high security cover VK Pandian, a Tamil Nadu-born bureaucrat-turned Biju Janata Dal (BJD) politician.

Pandian, a close aide of CM Naveen Patnaik, has been provided a strong ring of security cover that includes 74 police personnel. The contingent of 74 police personnel includes two sub-inspectors, 12 Havildars, 56 constables, four women constables. Besides, Pandian has also been given a personal security officer.

Quoting RTI inputs, the BJP said huge deployment of police personnel resulted in huge expenditure incurred from the state exchequer.

“VK Pandian was an All India Service Officer attached to Chief Minister, Odisha. He resigned from services and joined BJD. Under the law and the BJD constitution, Pandian is an ordinary member of that political party. But we all know and the people of entire Odisha know that V.K Pandian has been doing all political activities of BJD. He has been performing a key role in managing political affairs of the BJD,” the delegation led by party’s senior leader Suratha Biswal said in the memorandum.

The memorandum was submitted to ECI through the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Odisha.

“When there has been shortage of police personnel in the conduct of general election 2024, there is no rationale to deploy 74 police staff to guard the government residential accommodation of V.K Pandian. It is not known if there was any security threat to V.K Pandian. It is also not known if, V.K Pandian requested for security and guarding his official residence. But our concern is incurring such huge expenditure from the public exchequer to promote and support political activities of BID,” mentioned the memorandum.

It further said, “The party in power (BJD) has used its official position for the purpose of electioneering that too at the cost of public exchequer. The public perception is that the black money of BID to be used for election campaigns is being monitored and handled from secure Govt. accommodation.”

The delegation urged the ECI to cause an inquiry into the matter in the greater interest of level playing field and conduct of free and fair election and direct the police chief of the state to withdraw such a huge security cover extended to Pandian.

On Friday, RTI activist Prakash Chandra Dash had said, “The State Government government spends Rs 3 crore annually for the security of Pandian. It is imperative for the Government to clarify whether this security provision is aimed at addressing potential threats or enhancing the individual’s influential image.”

“It’s hard to comprehend why Pandian would require 74 security personnel, especially considering that each minister is allotted two and MLAs receive one each.

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