Sprint star Dutee Chand has courted controversy by allegedly campaigning for a BJD Lok Sabha candidate in Odisha despite being an icon of the Election Commission. Chand in her Facebook post has spoken about Achyut Samanta, who is contesting as a BJD candidate from Kandhamal Lok Sabha seat where polling will be held on Thursday. "I am not supporting any candidate or political party. I also do not appeal to any one to vote for Achyut Samanta.
However, on a personal level I wish him success in the election as he is God-like for me and helped me a lot to carry forward my sporting career," she said in her Facebook post. She also requested that the matter should not be politicised. Chand was among the six persons recognised by the EC as its icon in Odisha to create awareness and encourage young and new voters to exercise their franchise in the ongoing simultaneous assembly and Lok Sabha polls in the state.
Following her social media post there have been allegations that Chand had violated the model code of conduct and a complaint has been lodged with the Odisha chief electoral officer. "The matter in being investigated and her social media account will be verified," state Chief Electoral Officer Surendra Kumar told reporters. Apart from Chand, the ECI has also recognised para athlete Jayanti Behera, para shuttler Pramod Bhagat, singer Rituraj Mohanty and cine artistes Sivani Sangita and Swaraj as the state icons for the 2019 elections.
(With inputs from agencies.)