Election Commission of India (ECI) has identified constituencies of Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu as ‘expenditure-sensitive areas’.
Chief Electoral Officer of Puducherry, T Sreekanth, IAS, told a gathering at a workshop on ‘Media Certification, Paid News and Other Related Issues’ that Puducherry and TN figure among the seven States identified by the ECI as expenditure sensitive because of the money power shown during the campaigning to buy votes.
He said the ECI will announce the LS poll schedule anytime and the model code of conduct comes into effect the moment the poll schedule is announced. He said the ECI had conducted an all-party meeting to discuss measures for conduct of polls on February 4 and also held consultations with States’ chief secretaries and police officers on February 20.
Stressing that the ECI was aiming at 100 per cent ethical voting in the forthcoming elections, the CEO said the expenditure observers will be monitoring on a daily basis of all the candidates’ cash transactions.
He said State nodal officer and police nodal officer will monitor the cash movement and a separate control room will function for the purpose. The production, movement and distribution of liquor will also be monitored, added. Sreekanth said the election commission was considering a proposal for raising the limit for expenditure during the polls submitted by various political parties.
Sreekanth said the ECI has directed the political parties that their manifestoas shall not contain anything repugnant to the ideals and principles enshrined in the Constitution and it shall be consistent with the letter and spirit of other provisions of model code of conduct.
It also urged the political parties to avoid making those promises which are likely to vitiate the purity of the election process or exert undue influence on the voters in exercising their franchise.
The ECI told the parties that their manifestos also reflect the rationale for the promises and the ways and means to meet the financial requirements.
The CEO said the print and television media organisations should follow the advertisement code specified by the ECI. No cable operator or TV channel shall telecast any advertisement, not certified by the election authorities. The telecast will be monitored by the ECI. The district level Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC) will check on the paid news.The ECI will also monitor the use of social media by the contesting parties and candidates. It will also keep a check on bulk SMSes too.
Parthiban, IAS,Deputy Collector (revenue), Sreedharan, deputy CEO, Ramakrishnan, joint director, Department of Economics and Statistics addressed the workshop.