Saturday, November 2, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Remove posters, EC tells Gujarat
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 1
Taking serious note of reports about display of several posters and hoardings along communal lines in Gujarat, the Election Commission today directed the Chief Secretary of the state to ensure that these be removed forthwith.

The commission also directed the Chief Secretary to ensure the removal of hoardings put up by the Narendra Modi government, listing its “achievements” prior to the announcement of the poll.

In a two-page direction, it said, “The commission directs that all such hoardings, advertisements, etc on display shall be removed forthwith by the authorities concerned and a compliance report furnished to the Chief Electoral Officer, Gujarat, for onward submission to the commission.”

The commission also directed that no advertisements should be issued in newspapers and other media, including electronic, at the cost of the public exchequer during the election period and the misuse of mass media during the election period for partisan coverage of political news and publicity regarding achievements with a view to furthering the prospects of the party in power should be scrupulously avoided.

Drawing the attention to sub-para (iv) or para VII — “Party in Power” — of the model code of conduct for the guidance of political parties and candidates which says, “The party in power whether at the Centre or in the state or states concerned shall ensure that no cause is given for any complaint that it has used its official position for the purposes of its election campaign.”

“With the announcement of elections on October 28, the model code of conduct came into force immediately. The continuing display of such hoardings and advertisements at the cost of the public exchequer, even if such hoardings, advertisements or posters were displayed prior to the date of the announcement of the elections, constitutes a violation of the model code of conduct as it provides an undue advantage to the party in power and has the effect of influencing the voters in favour of the party in power.”

“The commission hereby directs that all such posters and hoardings must be removed forthwith by the authorities concerned and suitable action taken against the individuals or organisations responsible for display of such posters and hoardings,” the commission said.


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