Zero Tolerance Against Those Violating Code of Conduct: Chawla

Chandigarh
Zero Tolerance Against Those Violating Code of Conduct: Chawla
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+0553
Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla today said that zero tolerance policy has been adopted against those who have violated model code of conduct in order to ensure complete level playing field conditions.

He said that the authorities have been directed to ensure that while invoking preventive sections of the law, it was not used politically.

"Any violation of conduct would be dealt with under the IPC and Representation of People's Act as the EC has adopted a zero tolerance policy. We expect complete level playing field conditions," he told reporters here.

"I am satisfied with the steps taken in the case of persons against whom Non Bailable Warrants (NBW) have been issued, on deposit of fire arms by their owners and wherever shortcomings were found during the review, the officials have been directed to remove them in time," Chawla said.

Meanwhile, after reviewing the poll preparedness in Punjab and Haryana, which are scheduled to go for polls on May 7 and 13, Chawla said, "I am satisfied with the security arrangements made in the two states."

The CEC said that all the candidates with criminal cases against them will be tracked by the Commission officials as has been done in other parts of the country where the three phases of polling has ended.

Chawla rejected Congress' demand for enhanced security in Bathinda Lok Sabha constituency in Punjab, saying "I would not go into logistics as these keep changing. But after reviewing the situation I am completely satisfied".

To a question that there is a "big fight" in Bathinda, the CEC said that every fight in Punjab is big.

"This is a parliamentary poll and not an assembly election. I am satisfied with the security," Chawla said.

Congress leader Amarinder Singh's son Raninder Singh and SAD chief Sukhbir Badal's wife Harsimrat Kaur are contesting from the parliamentary seat.

Referring to reports that Amarinder used derogatory words against Sukhbir during the an election campaign and the SAD chief's retaliatory comments, the CEC said that he had not seen the comments. "We will not allow such a campaign," he added.

Chawla asked Chief Electoral Officer of Punjab Kusumjit Sidhu to send a report to the Commission by tomorrow with the clippings of the reports.

"I will get the issue examined as each of such comments have to be looked into before any action can be taken in the matter," he added.

Chawla said that "bundles of pages" of surrogate writings in newspapers were submitted to him by political parties in which propaganda of some candidates had been carried out.

"I have asked the CEOs of the two states to give the same to the Observers and in case the allegations were found true, then the expenditure incurred in the publication of such surrogate news reports would be added to the expenditure of the concerned candidate," he said.

He said that the Deputy Commissioners and the Superintendents of Police have been asked to remain outdoor 48 hours before polling to look into distribution of liquor and money during door to door campaigning.

"There will be no inflammatory speech, no caste based comments, no personal attacks. Any such violation will be taken note and action as per law will be taken against the guilty," he added.

The CEC said that in Punjab the political parties raised the issue of travel of some of the candidates in helicopters with the star campaigners whose expenses are to go into the account of the political parties.

The parties have been told that proportionate share of the expenditure incurred in the hiring of the helicopter would be added to the expenses of the concerned candidate, Chawla said.

He said that in view of the hot weather conditions, the Deputy Commissioners of the two states have been asked to ensure that the facilities of drinking water, emergency health kit and shades were provided at the polling stations.

"I have also asked the Chief Secretaries of the two states to arrange ambulances and water tankers at the district headquarters as standby arrangement to meet any emergency due to the heat wave," Chawla said, adding that the polling would take place from 7 am to 5 pm.

Chawla appealed to the people to bring with them Election Photo Identity Cards (EPIC) as nearly 100 per cent in Haryana and 94 per cent in Punjab have been issued the same. Those not having the EPICs can use other identity cards, he said.

He said that in Haryana, poll officials faced problem in updating electoral rolls and issuing EPICs in premises having "gated security" in residential complexes in Gurgaon where the Booth Level Officers were not allowed entry.

"After the issue was taken with the local Deputy Commissioner by the CEO of the state, the work has commenced and 13,113 EPICs are targeted to be issued in the gated complexes before the polling on May seven," Chawla said.

He denied that the Commission was not acting on complaints submitted by the political parties against their opponents.

"All the complaints being received from any party are being disposed off as per the law," he said.

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