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Odisha polls : 7 parties to get free campaign time on DD, AIR

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 23:

Six national political parties and one regional party would be allowed to campaign on Doordarshan and Akashvani free of cost for the forthcoming elections in April.

This was revealed by the state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Dr Mona Sharma at an all-party meeting here last evening.

The Election Commission had provided this opportunity- offered by the Prasar Bharti- to the political parties in the Lok Sabha elections held in 2009 as well as the Assembly elections in the states held between 2009 and 2014.

As decided, the six national parties—Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Bharatiya Janata Pary (BJP), Indian National Congress (INC), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)—would be allowed to campaign on DD and Akashvani.

In Odisha, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is the only regional party which has been provided with the same opportunity, Sharma said, adding, these parties would begin their campaign from April 2 next.

While the BSP has been allotted 75 minutes of campaign time on DD and Akashvani, BJP has been allotted 140 minutes, CPI (50 minutes), CPM (70 minutes), Congress (190 minutes) and NCP (55 minutes).

However, in Doordarshan Kendra-Bhubaneswar and Akashvani Centre, the BSP has been allotted 115-minutes of campaign, followed by BJP (210 minutes), CPI (80 minutes), CPM (110 minutes), INC (258 minutes) and NCP (80 minutes).

The CEO said parties would utilise their quota by taking five-minute slots each time. The date and timing of parties’ campaign would be decided through a lottery drawn in presence of the representatives of the concerned political parties.

A team of DDK-Bhubaneswar and Akashvani-Cuttack would screen and scroll the campaign programme of the parties on their respective channels.

The BJD, being a regional party, would be allowed to campaign for 45 minutes each on DDK-Bhubaneswar and Akashvani-Cuttack for nine times with a 5-minute slot everyday.

The CEO, however, made it clear that the parties would not be allowed to comment against any individual, make any statement that is detrimental to the sovereignty of the country, indulge in discussions relating to cases that are sub-judice or any topic that is likely to malign any person and trigger violence.