NGOs, opposition join chorus against Goa poll officials’ silence

January 20th, 2012 - 11:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Jan 20 (IANS) Civil society groups in Goa as well as the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party Friday joined the chorus protesting the chief electoral office’s silence in the wake of code of conduct violation complaints registered before the poll officials.

Yatish Naik, spokesperson for the Zagrut Goynkarancho Ekvott (ZGE), said that the silence of the office of the CEO was not healthy, especially when the state is heading for polls.

“The civil society condemns the action of the chief election official Kumaraswamy (referring to S. Kumaraswamy). These are democratic elections. The media conveys poll related information to the people. If the election officials do not speak to the media, it is condemnable,” said Naik, whose ZGE, an umbrella organisation of several dozen civil society groups, is backing several apolitical candidates for the March 3 polls in Goa.

The BJP also said that it would petition the Chief Election Commissioner’s (CEC) office to probe the reasons behind the Goa CEO’s refusal to give out poll-related information.

“We think this is most unusual and needs looking into by the CEC. We are left with no other option but to think that the office of the Goa CEO is under some kind of pressure,” BJP spokesperson Vishnu Wagh told a press conference Friday.

Over 40 journalists Wednesday staged a sit-in outside the cabin of the Goa chief electoral officer, accusing him of denying them information under “political pressure”.

“It is clear that the CEO’s office is withholding information. There are so many complaints which are received by the CEO’s office. But there is a blanket thrown over the status of the probe into these complaints. We want to get to the bottom of this,” said Pandurang Gaonkar, president of the Goa Union of Journalists (GUJ), which represents more than 200 media professionals here.

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