Bhubaneswar, Aug 14;
As all the political parties are preparing for the ensuing election for urban local bodies (ULBs) scheduled to be held on September 19, the State Election Commission (SEC) has asked ministers and other dignitaries to refrain from making political speeches and highlighting government policies while unfurling the national flag during Independence Day celebrations.
“Under no circumstances should these (I-day celebration functions) become a platform for political campaign either highlighting or criticizing the performance or non-performance of any government, federal, state or local bodies, urban or rural,” Ajit Tripathy, state election commissioner said in a letter to chief secretary J K Mohapatra. Copies of the letter have also been sent to all revenue divisional commissioners and district collectors.
The commission has said it had no objection to cultural functions being organized during I-Day programmes attended by political dignitaries. “However, utmost care should be taken to ensure that no political speeches highlighting the achievements are made on the occasion. Nor should any theme be critical of any government or political party,” it added.
Meanwhile, the SEC today held a meeting with all political parties in the state and sought their cooperation for smooth conduct of the election.
With the Koshal Kranti Dal (KKD) resorting to hartal and bandh from August 20 to 26 seeking a separate Koshal state, the parties raised concern that it may affect the electioneering process. However, the Commissioner made it clear that agitational programmes, including meetings, cannot be organized without the permission of the Commission since the model code of conduct had already been implemented in the state for the election.
It was also decided at the meeting that the candidates can spend Rs 30,000 during elections in places where the population is up to 50,000. Similarly, candidates can spend Rs 40,000 in places with a population of 50,000 to one lakh population and Rs 50,000 where the population is above one lakh population.