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A Panaji resident today filed a complaint with the Election Commission against BJP candidate and Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar for "whipping up religious sentiments" by launching his campaign at a place of worship. Parrikar had addressed a gathering of BJP workers outside Mahalaxmi Temple on August 2, the day he filed his nomination papers, after seeking the blessings of the deity. He had also visited Immaculate Conception Church in Panaji before submitting his documents. In his complaint, Sanjay Sarmalkar has demanded that an FIR be registered against Parrikar, who should be barred from contesting the August 23 by-election from Panaji seat. "I lodge my complaint against CM Parrikar for committing gross violation of the model code of conduct on August 2 by indulging in the malpractice of whipping up religious sentiments by using religious places and priests like (at) Mahalaxmi temple and Immaculate Conception Church," Sarmalkar has said in the complaint. He has demanded that the returning officer for the poll or the state's chief electoral officer (CEO) probe the matter, lodge an FIR and disqualify Parrikar from contesting the election. When contacted, a senior official from the CEO's office said the complaint would be investigated as per the law and necessary action taken if it was found that the model code of conduct was violated. Parrikar is contesting from Panaji constituency, where election was necessitated after BJP MLA Siddharth Kuncolienkar resigned to pave way for the chief minister's entry into the Assembly. Congress has fielded senior leader Girish Chodankar against Parrikar.
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