After fixing September 19 as the date for the urban polls in Odisha, the State Election Commission (SEC) has asked ministers, including the Chief Minister, not to highlight government achievements during Independence Day celebrations on Thursday.
They should confine themselves to extolling the achievements of the martyrs only in securing freedom of the country, glorification of freedom fighters, nation, culture and so on, State Election Commissioner Ajit Kumar Tripathy said in a letter to Chief Secretary J K Mohapatra.
“Under no circumstances, these should become platform for political campaign either highlighting or criticising the performance or non-performance of any government, federal, state or local bodies, urban or rural,” he said.
The SEC said Cabinet ministers, Ministers of State or any other political functionary should not do the honours at any location on Independence Day function within their home district. The commission has no objection to the organisation of cultural functions in connection with the Independence Day celebrations and being attended by the Chief Minister, Cabinet ministers, Ministers of State and other political functionaries, the SEC said.
“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,” he said.
So far as presentation of tableau in the Independence Day ceremony is concerned, the commission has decided that there should not be any tableau highlighting the achievements of government or any departments in the ceremony even in towns and cities not having elections to the urban local bodies (ULBs). Elections would be held in 91 ULBs.