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Hold simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha and state assemblies for the sake of development: Parliament panel

A parliamentary panel has asked the government as well as the Election Commission to explore possibility of holding simultaneous elections, to reduce frequency of polls and enforcement of code of conduct that impedes economic development. “This is important for India, if it is to compete with other nations in developmental agenda on real time basis as robust democratic country,” said the 31-member panel headed by Congress party’s Tamil Nadu MP Dr E M S. Natchippan. The panel said massive costs could be saved with the conduct of simultaneous elections. Only the Election Commission spends around Rs 4,500 crore for holding staggered Lok Sabha and state assembly elections, currently. The costs incurred by political parties are enormous.

A parliamentary panel has asked the government as well as the Election Commission to explore possibility of holding simultaneous elections, to reduce frequency of polls and enforcement of code of conduct that impedes economic development. “This is important for India, if it is to compete with other nations in developmental agenda on real time basis as robust democratic country,” said the 31-member panel headed by Congress party’s Tamil Nadu MP Dr E M S. Natchippan. The panel said massive costs could be saved with the conduct of simultaneous elections. Only the Election Commission spends around Rs 4,500 crore for holding staggered Lok Sabha and state assembly elections, currently. The costs incurred by political parties are enormous.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Committee has envisaged holding of elections of some state assemblies at mid-term of Lok Sabha and remaining with the end of tenure of Lok Sabha. It said the proposed first phase could be held in November 2016, involving states like West Bengal, Kerala, Puduchery, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Goa, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Meghalaya, Tripura, Nagaland and Karnataka. The states whose terms end between May 2016 to May 2018 should be clubbed together. In Phase two, rest of states, whose terms end between December 2018 to June 2019 should be held in June 2019 along with Lok Sabha elections.The MPs in the Standing Committee looking after the Ministry of Law and Justice said if all the political parties cooperate, the necessary steps can be taken without hurting the interests of any political party.First three general elections to Lok Sabha were conducted simultaneously with all state legislative assemblies till 1967. However, the cycle got disrupted due to premature dissolution of some assemblies in 1968 and 1969. In 1970, the Lok Sabha was itself dissolved prematurely. The panel reminded the practice in South Africa, where elections to national and provincial legislatures are held simultaneously for five years and municipal elections are held two years later. In Sweden, elections are held on a fixed date on second Sunday in September for four years.Though admitting that it may not be feasible in 2016 or even in a decade, but it has expressed confidence that a solution will be found in a due course of time.

Parliament committee for simultaneous Lok Sabha, Assembly polls

Elections to all state assemblies whose terms end prior to or after a time period of six months to one year from the appointed election date can be clubbed together

A Parliamentary Committee has made a strong pitch for holding of simultaneous assembly and Lok Sabha elections all over the country, suggesting that it can be done in the near future. But most of the political parties which responded to the Standing Committee’s questionnaire have said the idea is a “noble” one but “difficult to implement”. “The Committee does not feel that simultaneous election in every five year cannot be held in the near future but slowly it would reach in stages for which tenure of some of the state legislative assemblies need to be curtailed or extended,” the Standing Committee on Law and personnel said in its report ‘Feasibility of holding simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies’. The report was tabled in Parliament today.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While as per electoral law, elections can be held six months prior to the end of the term of a House, the term of the House cannot be extended except during proclamation of Emergency. The committee has recommended an “alternative and practicable method” of holding simultaneous elections which involves holding of polls in two phases. The panel has envisaged holding of elections of some assemblies at midterm of Lok Sabha and remaining with the end of tenure of Lok Sabha.It said the “proposed first phase” could be held in November, 2016. Elections to all state assemblies whose terms end prior to or after a time period of six months to one year from the appointed election date can be clubbed together. “The terms of some legislative assemblies may need to be extended while some of them may need to be curtailed,” it said. It admitted that gaining consensus of all political parties may be difficult in certain states.”However, in the larger context of economic development and implementation of election promises without creation of the impediments due to enforcement of Model Code of Conduct as a result of frequent elections, the prospects of holding simultaneous elections need to be weighed and deeply considered by all political parties,” the report said.The AIADMK has supported the idea in principle and so has the Asom Gana Parishad. The SAD said it supports the idea but has doubts on certain issues like mandate delivering a hung assembly. Congress and Trinamool Congress have rejected the idea saying “ideal as it may sound” it is “impractical and unworkable”. The NCP too said that the proposal is “not feasible”. The CPI said the “proposal looks ideal” but there are practical problems such as need for mid-term polls.The Law Commission in one of its reports presented the government in 1999 had also supported the idea of simultaneous polls. Out of 16 Lok Sabhas, as many as seven elected in 1969, 1977, 1980, 1984, 1996, 1998 and 1999 saw premature dissolution due to “emergence of coalition government.”

Haryana: SC upholds minimum qualification criterion for Panchayat polls; EC starts preparation for elections

The apex court on Thursday upheld the validity of recent amendments in a Haryana law which fixes various criteria including minimum educational qualification for candidates contesting panchayat polls.

Supreme Court

The State Election Commission on Thursday said it will soon set in motion the process for conduct of panchayat polls after the Supreme Court upheld a new in Haryana mandating minimum educational qualifications as a prerequisite for the contestants.”We will send a proposal to the state government immediately after we get the operative part of the Supreme Court judgement. “After getting the nod from the government, the process of holding the (panchayat) polls, which had been put on hold in view of the apex court hearing the petition, will be set in motion once again,” Haryana State Election Commissioner Rajeev Sharma said over telephone. The Model Code of Conduct was put on hold from September 24 in view of the Supreme Court hearing the petition pertaining to the validity of the educational qualifications for the candidates contesting panchayat polls in Haryana.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The apex court on Thursday upheld the validity of recent amendments in a Haryana law which fixes various criteria including minimum educational qualification for candidates contesting panchayat polls. The petition had challenged validity of Haryana’s Panchayati Raj (amendment) Act 2015 which fixes matriculation as essential qualification for general candidates contesting panchayat polls. As the matter was pending before the Supreme Court, the SEC had decided to put on hold all the activities in pursuant to Commission’s notification dated September 8 and all other notifications/orders issued subsequently, Sharma said.The Commission had on September 8 issued the programme for the conduct of elections to Panchayati Raj institutions in the state. According to the programme, the panchayat polls were to be conducted in three phases – October 4, 11 and 18. Meanwhile, ruling BJP in the state has hailed the Supreme Court verdict.”The Supreme Court verdict on the panchayat poll issue has proved that Haryana Government’s thought and direction of work are correct,” State Health Minister Anil Vij tweeted. When asked to comment on the judgement, senior Congress leader and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said, “I am yet to go through the verdict. I don’t know on what ground the writ petition has been dismissed.” Hooda had earlier said that before fixing minimum educational criteria for contestants of panchayat polls, the BJP government in the state and at the Centre should do the same for MPs and MLAs. State’s principal opposition party INLD, which had slammed the Khattar government alleging that it showed haste in fixing the education criteria, today said their views remain the same.”Everyone has to abide by the Supreme Court ruling, but our reservation was with the government. The BJP government should not have shown hurry in fixing minimum qualification criteria as it will debar nearly 70 per cent candidates from contesting. “The government should have first sought people’s view on this before moving ahead,” party’s state unit president Ashok Arora said.However, 33-year-old Sunil Jaglan, the man behind ‘Selfie with Daughter’ campaign and the Sarpanch of village Bibipur, termed it as a “historic” verdict. “It’s a historic verdict. Having educated elected representatives at the grassroot level of our system means that communication gap between government and public will be bridged. “Educated sarpanches will not be at the mercy of bureaucrats and effectively implement government schemes,” Jaglan said.

Bihar Elections 2015: Election Commission slaps notice on Amit Shah, Rahul Gandhi and Lalu Prasad Yadav

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The Election Commission on Sunday issued notice to various party leaders for allegedly breaching the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) in the ongoing Bihar elections. The notice has been sent to Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) president Amit Shah, and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav. The notice says, “The commission gives you an opportunity to explain your position before 3 pm of November 4, failing which it would take a decision without any further reference to them.”Election Commission issued a showcause notice to BJP President Amit Shah for his remarks that if his party loses Bihar elections, crackers will go off in Pakistan and said prima facie he has violated the model code in force in the state. “…the Commission is, prima facie, of the opinion that by making the… statement which has the potential of disturbing harmony and aggravating the existing differences between social and religious communities, you have violated … provision of the Model Code of Conduct,” the notice said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The poll panel reminded Shah that a provision of the model code provides that no party or candidate shall indulge in any activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities or religious and linguistic communities.Shah had told an election rally at Raxual on Indo-Nepal border in East Champaran district on Thursday that if BJP loses in Bihar, Diwali will be celebrated in Pakistan. He is said to have repeated the same in another rally at Bettiah, headquarters of West Champaran district on Thursday itself. “Friends, remembers if by mistake BJP loses here and Nitish-Lalu win, the results will be announced in Patna but firecrackers will go off in Pakistan,” the EC notice said quoting from Shah’s speech. The Commission has given him time till 3.00 pm of November four to explain his stand “failing which the EC shall take a decision without any further reference to you.” Rahul Gandhi was issued show-cause notice for his remarks that BJP makes Hindus and Muslims fight each other and said prima facie the Congress vice president has violated the provisions of the model code of conduct in force for Bihar polls. The poll panel has also issued a showcause notice to RJD Chief Lalu Prasad for his reported remarks dubbing BJP chief Amit Shah as “cannibal” and that he has also “gone mad”. The EC also referred to Lalu’s reported remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in which he was described as a “vampire”.Holding that prima facie the RJD chief has violated the model code, EC gave him time till 3 PM of November 4 to file his reply else it will take action without further reference to him. The EC also “cautioned” JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav for his reported remarks to influence voters in the name of divine displeasure and said he should follow the provisions of the model code as he is a senior politician.In its order, the EC rejected Yadav’s contention that the statement was made as an “emotive appeal” using a “hyperbole and metaphor”. The Commission has given Gandhi time till 3 pm on November 4 to explain his stand “failing which the EC shall take a decision without any further reference to you.” Quoting from his election speech made on October 29 in Benipatti in Madhubani district, the Commission recalled that Rahul had said: “What is their plan B…make Indian fight another Indian. Wherever they go — UP, Maharashtra, Haryana — wherever there is an election, their army goes and they make Hindus fight the Muslims.”The poll watchdog reminded Gandhi that the model code does not provide for criticism of other parties or their workers based on unverified allegations. It also said “distortion” of any kind must be “avoided”.

Worried Election Commission cracks whip on political advertisements

Using its powers under Article 324 of the Constitution, the EC specifically directed the CEO of Bihar to see that no advertisements are published which have the effect of vitiating the peaceful and congenial atmosphere conducive to the conduct of free and fair elections.

A day after banning a couple of controversial BJP ads, the Election Commission on Saturday asked its Chief Electoral Officer in Bihar to ensure that no political advertisements having the potential of creating mutual hatred, ill-will and disharmony amongst social and religious communities are published in Bihar.The strict instructions by EC come in the wake of blind competition amongst political parties to woo votes on the basis of caste and religion that is violative of not only model code of conduct but also several other statutory provisions including Representation of People Act, 1951.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Using its powers under Article 324 of the Constitution, the EC specifically directed the CEO of Bihar to see that no advertisements are published which have the effect of vitiating the peaceful and congenial atmosphere conducive to the conduct of free and fair elections.According to the three specific instructions handed over to the CEO Bihar by the Election Commission, the CEO shall direct all national, state and registered political parties contesting Bihar elections that whenever they release any advertisement for publication, a copy of the material furnished to the printer should be simultaneously sent to the CEO and district election officer of the concerned district.The CEO shall also direct the state presidents of political parties to ensure that advertisements having the potential of creating mutual hatred, ill-will and disharmony amongst social and religious communities are not published in media till the completion of election process in Bihar.And the CEO shall also direct the newspapers not to publish such advertisements till the completion of election process. The Commission has asked to inform the action taken in this regard latest by 12 noon, November 1.

BJP petitions EC for cancelling Aam Admi Party’s registration

Ashwini Upadhyay, a spokesperson of Delhi BJP, has filed the petition before the ECI for deregistering AAP for not “fulfilling” its poll promises of passing Janlokpal Bill and Swaraj Bill, in violation of Model Code of Conduct and Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951.

PTI
Delhi BJP on Wednesday filed a petition before the Election Commission of India seeking deregistration of Aam Admi Party for “violation” of Model Code of Conduct and Representation of Peoples Act.Ashwini Upadhyay, a spokesperson of Delhi BJP, has filed the petition before the ECI for deregistering AAP for not “fulfilling” its poll promises of passing Janlokpal Bill and Swaraj Bill, in violation of Model Code of Conduct and Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951. “During entire election campaigns in 2015 and 2013, AAP leaders including present Chief Minister of Delhi promised to pass Janlokpal and Swaraj Bill within 15 days if AAP gets full majority but after coming to power, AAP government is conveniently ignoring both Bills,” he said in his petition before ECI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Janlokpal Bill and and Swaraj Bill were part of AAP manifestos in 2015 and 2013 but despite the thumping 96 per cent majority in Delhi assembly, both Bills are not enacted into law, he said. Delhi Cabinet passed Janlokapl Bill on February 3 and Swaraj Bill on February 13, 2014 and both Bills are property of Assembly. There is no constitutional or legal impediment in passing them, he stated in his petition.Upadhyay claimed to be actively associated with Janlokpal movement of India Against Corruption.”Petitioner is one of the founder member of Aam Aadmi Party and had been National Council member too. During the 2013 Delhi state election, petitioner was authorised signatory of AAP for election related matters,” Upadhyay stated in his petition. Upadhyay had joined the BJP in last November.

Bihar Polls: Grand alliance says PM Modi violated poll code, seeks EC action

In a complaint submitted to the EC, JD(U) spokesperson K C Tyagi said Modi “violated” the Commission’s guidelines by announcing that interviews for non-gazetted Group B, C and D posts will no longer be held from next year and also by talking about gold monetisation schemes.
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PTI
The grand alliance on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of violating the Model Code of Conduct by making announcements in his Mann Ki Baat broadcast aimed at “influencing” voters in Bihar and urged the Election Commission to take stern action, including suspension of BJP as a national party.In a complaint submitted to the EC, JD(U) spokesperson K C Tyagi said Modi “violated” the Commission’s guidelines by announcing that interviews for non-gazetted Group B, C and D posts will no longer be held from next year and also by talking about gold monetisation schemes.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In complete violations of the Model Code of Conduct and utter defiance of the specific directions of the Commission, he (Modi) made statements,” the complaint, which has also been endorsed by Congress, said. It also objected to Modi’s statement that he was going to London to inaugurate the house where B R Ambedkar had lived as a student.”All these announcements were deliberately made to influence and induce the voters in Bihar election with the sole purpose to seek votes,” it said.Demanding action, the complaint noted that the Commission in its September 18 direction had said that nothing should be said in his radio broadcast which may be construed as inducement to voters or as having any impact on the elections.The EC’s direction had come after the grand alliance of Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), Lalu Prasad’s RJD and Congress had demanded a ban on Modi’s regular radio broadcast in which he shares his thoughts on a host of issues.The conditions imposed on the Prime Minister by the Commission had been violated, the complaint said. It added that Bihar BJP leader Sushil Modi was earlier found by the commission to have violated the EC’s guidelines by making certain promises.BJP’s recognition as a national party should either be suspended or withdrawn following these series of violations, it demanded.

Bihar Polls: Election Commission ‘cautions’ Sushil Kumar Modi for offering freebies to voters

An FIR has already been lodged against the former Bihar deputy chief minister for allegedly inducing voters by promising colour TVs to ‘dalits’ and ‘mahadalits’, laptops to students and money to buy dhoti-saris to the poor.
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dna Research & Archives
BJP leader Sushil Modi was on Saturday found guilty of violating the model code by Election Commission for allegedly offering freebies to voters in Bihar but was let off with a light rap by the poll panel which asked him to be “cautious” in future.”…the Commission has considered your reply carefully and has observed that you have not denied having made the impugned statements…the Commission has, therefore, held that you have violated the provisions of…Model Code of Conduct. The Commission cautions you to abide by the provisions of MCC in letter and spirit and be more careful in future,” the order said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While issuing the order, the Commission made it clear that as the BJP’s vision document for Bihar was formally issued after his remarks, his statement at an election rally in Bhabua on September 28 is not covered under a section of the Representation of the People Act which states that a declaration of public policy, or a promise of public action will not be deemed to be interference within the meaning of influencing voters.An FIR has already been lodged against the former Bihar deputy chief minister for allegedly inducing voters by promising colour TVs to ‘dalits’ and ‘mahadalits’, laptops to students and money to buy dhoti-saris to the poor.

Grand alliance complains to EC over PM Modi’s rally at Bhabua, alleges it will be violation of model code of conduct

The grand alliance of JD (U), RJD and Congress on Sunday lodged a complaint with the Election Commission over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled rally at Bhabua, Bihar, tomorrow and said that its live telecast would be violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

The grand alliance of JD (U), RJD and Congress on Sunday lodged a complaint with the Election Commission over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled rally at Bhabua, Bihar, on and said that its live telecast would be violation of the Model Code of Conduct.”Prime Minister Modi’s (Bhabhua) rally on Monday is in the same place where polling is scheduled to take place. On one side, the people will cast their votes and the Prime Minister’s rally would be telecast on the other side, which will affect the voters and it would be violation of the Model Code of Conduct,” JD (U) leader K.C. Tyagi told ANI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We met the representatives of the Chief Election Commissioner and briefed them over the Model Code of Conduct’s Article 126,” he added. Another JD (U) leader Pawan Verma, who was also the part of the delegation, questioned the timing of Prime Minister Modi’s rally.”The first phase of Bihar elections is tomorrow. Is it a co-incidence that Prime Minister Modi begins his tour in neighbouring area on the same day?” he added. Congress leader Ajay Maken said that he requested the Election Commission to ban campaigning 48 hours before polling for the first phase.

Bihar polls: EC should punish BJP leader Giriraj Singh for violating Model Code of Conduct, says JD (U)

The JDU on Saturday condemned the remarks over beef made by senior BJP leader Giriraj Singh, saying that he has a habit of making provocative remarks and thus the Election Commission should take cognizance and strict action against him.

The Janata Dal (United) on Saturday condemned the remarks over beef made by senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Giriraj Singh, saying that he has a habit of making provocative remarks and thus the Election Commission should take cognizance and strict action against him.”Giriraj Singh is the same leader who said that those not voting for BJP should go to Pakistan. The Election Commission should take cognizance of his statement and should take strict action against him for repeatedly violating the Model Code of Conduct,” JD (U) leader K.C. Tyagi told ANI.Earlier, Giriraj Singh made another off-the-cuff, bizarre remark by saying that the difference between beef and mutton is the same as the difference in the relationship with wife with sister.His comment came after a forensic test confirmed that the meat found in Mohammed Akhlaq’s house, who was beaten to death over rumours that he had stored beef at his residence, was mutton and not beef. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Bihar polls: Election Commission summons Lalu Prasad Yadav for casteist remarks

An FIR was lodged against Lalu on Tuesday in Bihar for allegedly making casteist remarks.

The RJD supremo had described the assembly elections as a direct fight between “the backward castes and forward castes”

The Election Commission on Thursday slapped a show cause notice on RJD chief Lalu Prasad, saying prima facie he had violated the model code of conduct by allegedly making casteist remarks in the run up to Bihar assembly polls. “…the Commission is, prima facie, of the opinion that by making the aforesaid statements, you have violated the… provisions of Model Code of Conduct…the Commission gives you an opportunity to explain your stand in making the above said statements on or before 3 pm of October 6, 2015, failing which the ECI shall take a decision without further reference to you,” the notice said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An FIR was lodged against Lalu on Tuesday in Bihar for allegedly making casteist remarks. Read more here.Launching his campaign from Raghopur, the RJD supremo had described the assembly elections as a direct fight between “the backward castes and forward castes” and gave a call to Yadavs and other backward castes to rally behind the secular alliance to defeat BJP-led NDA. While issuing the notice, the EC reminded him that “promoting feelings of enmity or hatred between different classes of citizens on the ground of religion, race, caste, community or language” is an electoral offence under section 125 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and also an offence under section 153A and section 505(2) of the IPC.The notice is based on a report submitted to the EC by Bihar Chief Electoral Officer Ajay Naik.

Bihar polls: Rs 7.60 lakh unaccounted cash, 30,365 litres liquor seized

The authorities on Tuesday seized unaccounted cash worth Rs 7.60 lakh, besides 30,365 litres of liquor from different places in Bihar during pre-election drives, an official release said.

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dna Research & Archives
The authorities on Tuesday seized unaccounted cash worth Rs 7.60 lakh, besides 30,365 litres of liquor from different places in Bihar during pre-election drives, an official release said.Of the Rs 7.60 lakh cash seizure, the highest Rs 3.96 lakh was recovered from Araria district followed by Rs 1.53 lakh in Vaishali district, Rs 1.16 lakh in Saran district and Rs 94,900 from Aurangabad district, the release issued by the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), said.The authorities also seized 30,365 litres of liquor during their drive against country/foreign liquor, it said. In cases related to violation of Model Code of Conduct, 126 were related to defacement of public properties and five to private properties, the release said, adding 14 cases were lodged in connection with misuse of vehicles and three related to violation of loudspeaker Act, besides six cases for illegal meeting/speech etc.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As under enforcement of law and order, 15 arms/weapons and 61 cartridges were seized, while 121 licensed arms verified and 901 licensed arms deposited, it said.The cancellation of licensed arms stood at 95 and 635 non-bailable warrants were executed, the release said, adding Rs 12.76 lakh in fine was collected during vehicle checking.

No special concessions for special trains in Bihar: EC tells Railway Ministry

The EC has asked the chairman of Railway Board to ensure that no special concessions are allowed for any special train leaving or entering to any station in Bihar without prior permission of it.

The Election Commission (EC) has warned the Railway Ministry against giving special concessions for special trains being run to and from poll-bound Bihar till the Model Code of Conduct is in force.The EC was responding to complaints made by the Congress-RJD-JD (U) alliance that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is using state machinery to seek political gains in Bihar. The EC has asked the chairman of Railway Board to ensure that no special concessions are allowed for any special train leaving or entering to any station in Bihar without prior permission of it.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It also sought to know why no special permission was taken regarding such movement even after the model code came into force at 2.30 p.m on September 9, when EC had announced the Bihar election schedule. The term of the 243-member Bihar assembly comes to an end on November 29. Polls in the state will begin on October 12 and end on November 5. Counting of votes will take place on November 8.

Election Commission gives go-ahead to Prime Minister’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on Sunday

EC issued the order in response to a clarification sought by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry on the issue on September 15. The Commission said it also has no objection to pre-broadcast publicity through different channels of AIR and Doordarshan.
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The Election Commission on Friday gave the go-ahead to the airing of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme on Sunday, provided nothing is said that may be construed as inducement to voters or having an impact on poll-bound Bihar where model code of conduct is in force. EC issued the order in response to a clarification sought by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry on the issue on September 15. The Commission said it also has no objection to pre-broadcast publicity through different channels of AIR and Doordarshan.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”…the Commission has no objection to the broadcast of the programme ‘Mann ki Baat’ over All India Radio on September 20, 2015 and the pre-broadcast publicity through different channels of AIR and Doordarshan subject to the condition that nothing be said therein that may be construed as inducement to voters or as having any impact in election-bound state of Bihar where the Model Code of Conduct is in force from September 9 to November 12, 2015,” EC’s Principal Secretary K Ajaya Kumar said in the order addressed to I and B Ministry Special Secretary J S Mathur.The Commission has thus rejected a demand made by anti-BJP grand alliance that the PM’s programme be suspended till the elections in Bihar are over.Representatives of the ‘grand alliance,’ including RJD and JD(U), had on Wednesday approached the Election Commission seeking suspension of the programme till Bihar polls are over, raising doubts that it might be used it to influence voters.A delegation of the three-party alliance also including Congress, met the Election Commission with the plea to stop broadcast of the Prime Minister’s monthly radio programme.”Permitting the Prime Minister to organise the Mann Ki Baat programme would be giving a completely unfair advantage to BJP and will upset the level-playing field essential to uphold the neutrality and majesty of the electoral process,” it had said in its petition.The programme was aired even during Haryana, Maharashtra and Delhi assembly polls. Congress had accused the PM of violating the model code in his October 3, 2014 episode. But the Commission “did not find anything” in the broadcast which constituted violation of the model code of conduct.

Why the Congress petition to suspend PM Modi’s Mann Ki Baat will play into the BJP’s hands

The Congress wants Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop airing his Mann Ki Baat address, until the Bihar Assembly election concludes on 8 November. In fact, the party wishes to flag this as a serious issue of violation of the model code of conduct, and is petitioning the Election Commission to issue necessary directions to the relevant authorities.

An RJD leader said that “it was the Congress’ decision to plead before the Commission for the stoppage of Mann Ki Baat. Although we are not, at least as of now, going to the EC as part of a delegation with them, as alliance Mahagathbandhan partners, we endorse whatever they are doing.” The other ally in this secularist grand coalition, the JD(U) is likely to join Congress leaders when they go meet the Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi on the issue on this hypothetical model code of conduct violation issue.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. ReutersPrime Minister Narendra Modi. Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Reuters

It’s clear that the EC is unlikely to respond positively to the Congress’ wishes. The poll panel has on numerous occasions clarified that the model code of conduct does not restrict day-to-day functioning of the government or stop an ongoing program. It only prohibits the announcement of policies and promises that could influence the minds of voters in the poll-bound state.

As of now, Modi is expected to air the next edition of his Mann Ki Baat on Sunday (20 September), but there is no official confirmation regarding this so far.

By deciding to petition the EC on Mann Ki Baat, the Congress may have unwittingly acknowledged that Modi’s direct engagement with citizens over the radio has actually become popular, and thus has the potential to swing votes in his favour. It has also given an issue to the BJP with which to mount a counter-offensive against the Congress.

After all, Modi’s Mann Ki Baat — and the way it has progressed in the past year — is not about offering poll sops but engaging with people at large on issues that confront society. The purpose of the radio address is also talk to talk about people and issues that can be inspirational — whether that be the ‘selfie with daughter’, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Jan Dhan Yojana, energy conservation and so on.

In the last edition of Mann Ki Baat (broadcast on 30 August), Modi did talk about a policy decision — not to re-promulgate the Land Acquisition ordinance, and to integrate 15 other categories of Central laws with the prevailing law on land acquisition. But that was hardly an issue that could have come under the domain of EC scrutiny even if the model code of conduct was in place. Moreover, the Congress had been quick to claim it as a victory of the party vice-president Rahul Gandhi and is planning to hold a victory rally in Delhi.

BJP national secretary Srikant Sharma called the move a case of “Khisyani billi khambha noche (A slow cat that can’t catch mice, ends up scratching pillars). The Congress is desperate to find an issue, not realising that this will become a joke at its own expense.”

The point is that Modi or any other leader could always talk about the issues raised as part of Mann Ki Baat in public rallies while campaigning in Bihar. Mann Ki Baat, on the other hand, is not about an election, it’s about the nation and societal change.

During the parliamentary election held last year, the Congress had hurriedly petitioned the EC to prevent Modi from turning his nomination-filing in Banaras into a public campaign event, on a day when polling was in progress in some other parts of the country. The EC had then dismissed the Congress’ petition, and is likely to do the same this time.

Amidst reports of opposition by Congress, EC rules out ‘blanket ban’ on Modi’s ‘Mann ki baat’

The Congress is seeking a ban on the radio show, claiming that it’s a violation of code of conduct.

The Election Commission on Wednesday ruled out a “blanket ban” on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Mann ki baat’ radio programme amid reports that the Congress is likely to approach the poll body with such a demand alleging it “violates” the Model Code of Conduct in force due to Bihar assembly polls.According to reports, “No blanket ban can be enforced on things like Cabinet meeting and Mann ki baat but the EC can take cognizance if the Cabinet decision or the content of programme is in violation of the Model Code of Conduct,” the official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Quoting sources, a leading news channel said, “There should not be any campaign during the radio show, and the content should not be such that it influences the elections.”A group of Congress leaders including Randeep Singh Surjewala, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and KC Mittal, will approach the Election Commission. The Congress is seeking a ban on the radio show, claiming that it’s a violation of code of conduct.If such a complaint is made, the election watchdog goes through the recording as well as transcript of the episode and takes a decision, he said.Congress president Rahul Gandhi has often targeted the prime minister saying instead of expressing his own ‘Mann ki Baat’, he should listen to what people want.On Tuesday, Modi urged people to record voice messages for ‘Mann Ki Baat’. The next edition of the programme will be broadcast this Sunday.The MyGov platform, had earlier invited people to record messages in either Hindi or English, for ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on the toll-free number 1800 3000 7800.A similar complaint was made by Congress against the programme during the Haryana assembly polls.

Jitan Ram Manjhi’s family targeted because he is dalit, says party

HAM spokesman Danish criticised the Bihar Government for detaining Praveen Manjhi, the son of Jitan Ram Manjhi.

Jitan Ram Manjhi

The Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) on Sunday alleged that former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi?s family is being targetted as he is a dalit leader. HAM spokesman Danish Rizwan criticised the Bihar Government for detaining Praveen Manjhi, the son of Jitan Ram Manjhi. “The state government has asked intelligence and special branch officers to keep surveillance on Manjhi ji’s family because he is a dalit leader. We oppose this, Election Commission has to look into the matter,” HAM spokesman Danish Rizwan told ANI.”A construction work is going on at his residence, and the collector of the region is troubling him on the directions of state government,” he added. Praveen Manjhi was detained by the police today in Jehanabad after Rs. 4, 65,000 was recovered from him.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Praveen has been detained as the Model Code of Conduct is effective in Bihar ahead of the assembly polls.

Bihar Home Secretary, 9 District Magistrates and 7 SPs transferred by Election Commission

Last month, the Election Commission had ordered transfer of officials connected to the conduct of elections, who are either posted in their home districts or have served in places for long, as part of its procedure to ensure free and fair elections.

During the Model Code of Conduct, the Election Commission has superintendence over the administrative machinery and is free to transfer officers.

Ahead of Bihar assembly polls slated next month, the Election Commission on Friday ordered the transfer of state Home Secretary Amir Subhani, nine district magistrates and seven senior police official including SPs and SSPs and said those transferred from districts should not be posted to any election-related post. It asked the state Chief Secretary to send the poll body with a ‘compliance report’ within 24 hours along with copies of transfer orders.The EC also appointed Sudhir Kumar Rakesh, 1983 bath IAS officer, as the new Home Secretary.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Since Subhani was also Secretary in charge of General Administration Department besides being the Home Secretary, the EC said the state government could post any other secretary-rank officer to the post. It said Subhani “may be given any other assignment/post by the state government, as deem fit.”During the Model Code of Conduct, the EC has superintendence over the administrative machinery and is free to transfer officers.District Magistrate-cum-District Election Officer of Patna Pratima Verma and Patna SSP Vikas Vaibhav are among the senior administrative and police officers transferred by the poll watchdog.Last month, the Election Commission had ordered transfer of officials connected to the conduct of elections, who are either posted in their home districts or have served in places for long, as part of its procedure to ensure free and fair elections.In a letter addressed to Chief Secretary and Chief Electoral Officer of Bihar, the poll watchdog, however, had made it clear that the transfer-posting order will not apply to Sector Officers though they are directly involved with the poll process.”The Commission, in its task of conducting free and fair elections has followed the consistent policy to ensure that officers, who are connected with the conduct of elections in the state, do not serve in their home districts or places where they have served for long,” it had said.

dna Must Read – Bihar poll dates, Ishant Sharma, FTII: Top 5 stories at 11 pm

dna Must Reads at 11 pm

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Here are some of the top stories at 11 pm on dnaindia.com:Election Commission likely to announce dates for Bihar polls this week: The Election Commission is likely to announce the schedule of the high-voltage Bihar Assembly polls later this week or early next week. Sources in the poll panel said the schedule is likely to be announced later this week. If not this week, the schedule could be announced “early” next week.​<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India v/s Sri Lanka 3rd Test: Ishant Sharma suspended for one match: India’s pace spearhead Ishant Sharma was on Tuesday suspended for one Test match for breaching ICC’s Code of Conduct during the third cricket Test against Sri Lanka where he got into repeated altercations with opposition players.​FTII students want fresh talks, write letter to Rajyavardhan Rathore: With no end in sight to the 82-day-old strike at FTII, agitating students on Tuesday sent a fresh letter to the government for resumption of talks but remained “firm” on their main demand of removal of Gajendra Chauhan as chairman of the institute.​I believe Indrani could have murdered Sheena, says deceased’s father Siddhartha Das: Sheena Bora’s biological father surfaced on Tuesday for the first time and sought death for her mother Indrani Mukerjea, wife of former Star India CEO Peter Mukerjea​.3 dead in police firing in Manipur; violence toll up to 8: Three persons were killed on Tuesday when police opened fire on protesters in Manipur’s Churachandpur district taking the overnight toll to eight​.

Congress to move Election Commission against Amit Shah as chief guest on Yoga Day

Congress today said it will approach the Election Commission to raise the issue of BJP chief Amit Shah being made the chief guest at an “official function” on International Yoga Day, claiming that it “violated” the model code of conduct in view of the Legislative Council polls.

PTI
Congress today said it will approach the Election Commission to raise the issue of BJP chief Amit Shah being made the chief guest at an “official function” on International Yoga Day, claiming that it “violated” the model code of conduct in view of the Legislative Council polls.”Despite the model code of conduct being in force in Bihar, BJP President Amit Shah was invited to an official function on International Yoga Day which was organised using money drawn from Union government treasury. (Is that) not violation of election code?” state Congress chief Ashok Choudhary asked while speaking to reporters.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”When the state Election Commission has put a stay on ‘[email protected]’ campaign of Nitish Kumar government citing model code of conduct, how can Amit Shah be made chief guest at a function on World Yoga Day?” he asked.The Bihar Congress chief also alleged that many central leaders were highlighting programmes of their respective ministry notwithstanding model code of conduct.He pointed at announcements like opening of one more AIIMS in Bihar, a new agricultural college and National Highways, to support his argument. Choudhary also questioned the Narendra Modi government over “cutting funds” for schemes like Indira Awas and MGNREGA among others.

Mr Dabangg Collector: IAS officer gets warning for wearing glares while meeting Modi

Raipur: In a bizarre move, a Chhattisgarh IAS officer Amit Kataria, who wore a blue shirt and sunglasses while receiving Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week, has got a stern warning from the state government for the supposed violation of dress code and protocol.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi withPrime Minister Narendra Modi with

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with IAS officer Kataria.

Interestingly, according to local media reports, the IAS officer was greeted by Modi with “Mr Dabangg Collector, how are you?”

In a warning letter issued to Kataria, a 2004 batch IAS officer who is Collector of Jagdalpur, the state government said while receiving the Prime Minister on 9 May  “it has come to notice that you were not wearing proper dress and had also put on sunglasses”.

The letter said that it was in violation of section 3(i) of All India Services (Conduct) Rules which asks every member of the Services shall at all times maintain absolute integrity and devotion to duty and shall do nothing which is unbecoming of a member of the service.

The letter, however, does not mention how wearing glares or a blue shirt makes it unbecoming of an officer.

The officer was expected to be dressed in ‘Bandhgala’ while receiving the Prime Minister as he was representing the state government in the district. The state government “warns you” that in future there should be no violation of laid down norms and protocol, the letter said.

While the order has received its fair share of criticism, the Chief Minister defended his government’s move pointing out that no action has been taken against him and another officer, who too has been issued notice for not following the dress code.

“The notice has been given as a warning that they must maintain protocol for the PM,” Singh said, adding, “All officers must maintain absolute integrity and do nothing unbecoming of a member of the service,” NDTV quoted him as saying.

While it is unclear if the Prime Minister’s Office could have been behind the ‘warning’, this is not the first time that such action was taken.

Last year, reports suggested that the Prime Minister’s Office had called up a certain Union minister who was on his way to the international airport to board a flight to Kenya. The minister, who was dressed casually in jeans and a t-shirt, was reportedly asked by the PMO to return to his residence and change into acceptable Indian attire. “Are you aware that you are a central minister?”

With PTI inputs

Centre to review working of sexual harassment committees

The working of committees to check sexual harassment at workplace will be reviewed by the Centre in order to speed up the disposal of cases received by them.

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The working of committees to check sexual harassment at workplace will be reviewed by the Centre in order to speed up the disposal of cases received by them.The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has been issuing guidelines from time to time in the aftermath of a Supreme Court judgement in the Vishakha case to ensure that all departments take prescribed steps for functioning of the complaint committees in their establishments.It has been decided to convene a meeting with the chairpersons of the sexual harassment complaint committees set up in the ministries or departments on April 16, a DoPT official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The DoPT has earlier asked all the ministries to include information on the various cases filed and disposed in their annual reports.According to the rules, a complaints committee has to be in existence at all times within government departments and changes in its composition, whenever necessary, should be made promptly and adequately publicised.The composition of the complaints committee should also be posted on the websites of the ministries or departments concerned.As per recently modified guidelines,humiliating treatment which is likely to affect women government employees’ health or safety may also amount to sexual harassment.Sexual harassment includes physical contact and advances, a demand or request for sexual favours, making sexually-coloured remarks, showing pornography and any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature, according to the new definition under the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964.

Now, EVMs to have photographs of contesting candidates

New Delhi: To avoid confusion in the minds of the electorate in constituencies where namesakes are contesting, the Election Commission has decided that ballot papers will also carry pictures of the contestants besides their names and party symbols.

An EC direction to all Chief Electoral Officers of states and UTs said that for elections to be held from 1 May, 2015 onwards, the ballot papers, postal ballot papers and ballot papers to be displayed on EVMs will also carry the photographs of the candidates.

evm380evm380“The Commission has noted that there are many cases where candidates with same or similar names contest from the same constituency.

“Although appropriate suffixes are added to the names of candidates in the event or two or more candidates having same name, the Commission considers that additional measures are required for removing confusion in the minds of electors at the time of voting,” the EC direction said.

The EC pointed out that a writ petition on the subject is pending in the Supreme Court.

To allow CEOs add photographs to ballot papers, the EC has modified its existing directions issued under the Conduct of Election Rules.

The photograph will appear between the name of the candidate and his or her election symbol.

The Commission explained that if a candidate fails to provide the photograph, it “shall not be a ground for the rejection of the nomination of the candidate”.

The candidates will now be required to submit their very recent photograph, either black and white or coloured to election authorities at the time of filing nomination.

No uniforms would be allowed and caps and dark glasses have to be avoided, the EC said.

The poll watchdog had recently informed the Supreme Court that it is open to the idea of printing photographs of contesting candidates on the ballot papers.

PTI

Delhi needs administration, not anarchy, says BJP

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday criticized Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal for continuing to make objectionable statements despite repeated warnings by the Election Commission (EC), terming the former chief minister as an ‘anarchist’, adding that the people of Delhi deserved ‘administration’.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday criticized Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal for continuing to make objectionable statements despite repeated warnings by the Election Commission (EC), terming the former chief minister as an ‘anarchist’, adding that the people of Delhi deserved ‘administration’.”In spite of the fact that the Election Commission has been issuing notice after notice to Arvind Kejriwal, he has been sidestepping those notices and not answering in a satisfactory way.. this is anarchy,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said.”Instead of repenting, Arvind Kejriwal went ahead and committed the same mistake again. A mistake which is committed again is not a mistake but a deliberate move, this kind of deliberate move by Arvind Kejriwal is what we call anarchy. Delhi does not want anarchy; it wants administration,” he added.On Friday, the Election Commission had issued a notice against Arvind Kejriwal for violating the Model Code of Conduct by making false allegations against Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay. This followed an earlier notice sent by the EC for his ‘bribe’ remarks.Kejriwal had reportedly made the same statement again even after the notice was served.

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