Poll panel advises Bengal Governor not to visit Cooch Behar, citing model code violation

The election watchdog also noted that the entire district administration and police force “would be fully occupied in election management during April 18 and 19 and it would be a diversion for them from time-bound poll-related work”
West Bengal Governor C V Ananda Bose
West Bengal Governor C V Ananda BosePhoto | CV Ananda Bose's website

NEW DELHI: The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Wednesday advised West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose not to go ahead with his proposed two-day visit to Cooch Behar beginning April 18, where polling is scheduled to take place on April 19, saying it would be a violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and may also lead to difficulties for district authorities, sources said.

The sources said the poll panel also cited the 'silence period', which would come into effect from Wednesday (April 17) evening.

A source, quoting the ECI communication to the office of the governor, said, “Under Model Code of Conduct and being poll day, no local programme can be organised for Honorable Governor, as proposed in his issued schedule.”

The MCC came into force on March 16 with the announcement of Lok Sabha polls by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, who requested political parties to maintain decorum during campaigning.

Polling for the 543 Lok Sabha seats will be held in seven phases, starting with 102 parliamentary seats in the first phase on April 19. The votes will be counted on June 4.

West Bengal Governor C V Ananda Bose
Politics erupts over Ram Navami in Bengal as PM Modi, CM Mamata cross swords

The election watchdog in its advisory also noted that the entire district administration and police force “would be fully occupied in election management during April 18 and 19 and it would be a diversion for them from time-bound poll-related work”, if they needed to provide any protocol and local security cover to this unexpected proposed visit without an imminently known requirement.

As per Section 126 of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951, the silence period starts from April 17 at 6 pm, which brings several restrictions and a higher level of enforcement by the election authorities.

The ECI has issued standing instructions to all district election officers and heads of district police force to ensure that all high-profile persons, campaigners and political workers, who are not voters of the said election area, shall exit immediately at the beginning of the silence period to ensure free and fair polls.

As per the MCC norms, there are eight provisions dealing with general conduct, meetings, processions, polling day, polling booths, observers, the party in power, and election manifestos. It also says that ministers must not combine official visits with election work or use official machinery for the same.

The ruling party cannot use government transport or machinery for campaigning. It should also ensure that public places such as maidans etc for holding election meetings and facilities like the use of helipads are provided to opposition parties on the same terms and conditions on which they are used by the party in power.

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com