CEC warns of strict action against model code violation

March 24th, 2009 - 10:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, March 24 (IANS) Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) N. Gopalaswami Tuesday warned political parties, their candidates and officials concerned of strict action over violation of the model code of conduct for the general elections.
“We are keeping a strict watch on the activities of the political parties, including use of money and liquor, especially 48 hours before the polling day. We have reminded the parties and all concerned to strictly observe the model code. We will continue to crack the whip in case of violations,” Gopalaswami told reporters after a day-long review of the state election commission’s preparedness for the parliamentary polls next month in the state.

Karnataka is set to go for polls in two phases - April 23 and April 30 - to elect 28 Members of Parliament from the state.

Alarmed over the increasing number of violation cases in the state, the CEC said a total of 305 cases were booked so far and action was being taken.

“The state election commission has till date seized Rs.10 lakh in cash, liquor valued at Rs.31 lakh and a number of vehicles used without permission or in excess. In all, the value of seizures is about Rs.77 lakh,” Gopalaswami said.

In the backdrop of Karnataka setting a record in model code violation in the 2008 assembly elections when money, liquor and vehicles valued at Rs.46 crore were seized in a month, Gopalaswami said the poll panel would step up vigil to curb such violations.

“I am afraid there may be more such seizures if the code is violated and offenders will be booked. Though the poll notification in Karnataka is due March 28, we have shown we are serious about compliance by booking so many cases and seizing a substantial quantity of liquor and cash till date,” Gopalaswami pointed out.

Earlier in the day, the CEC held a meeting with the political parties on the two-phase polling across the state next month. He also held a separate discussion with the deputy commissioners who are also the returning officers for the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state. Top police officials, including superintendent of police (SP) in the respective districts also attended the meeting.

“There are no major complaints so far. The state election commission has been directed to look into general complaints lodged by the parties on code violation, attempts to register bogus voters, delay in obtaining permission for holding public meetings, use of money and liquor, misuse of official vehicles and delays in issue of voters’ identity cards (EPICs),” Gopalaswami recalled.

The state electoral office is looking into a complaint filed against Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa violating the model code by attending a party (BJP) campaign programme at Hubli beyond the permissible time of 10 p.m. late Monday.

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