District Collector and Election Officer Archana Patnaik on Friday appealed to the representatives of all political parties to extend co-operation and compliance to the model code of conduct for ensuring a fair and peaceful Lok Sabha elections scheduled for April 24.
Collector and Returning Officer for Coimbatore Lok Sabha seat Archana Patnaik, Principal Assistant Returning officer S. Sivarasu, District Revenue Officer and Returning Officer for Pollachi Lok Sabha constituency K. Karpagam and Principal Assistant Returning Officer and Pollachi Sub-Collector Rashmi Sidharth Jagade besides City Police Commissioner A.K. Viswanathan and Superintendent of Police – Coimbatore Rural District M. Sudhakar took part in the all-party meeting held on Friday. The meeting was attended by almost all political parties.
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam representative urged for removal of all hoardings and advertisements by the ruling party besides removal of two leaves symbol and pictures of Chief Minister from water bottles, bus stops, buses and from Government offices.
He also sought equal treatment for candidates of all political parties.
Parties expressed concern at the “rigid” implementation of the model code pertaining to movement of cash. They said that Coimbatore was a business hub and people from neighbouring areas visit Coimbatore for procurement of goods and they travel with huge cash on their person.
Seizure of cash suspecting them to be money from political parties to bribe voters would result in the city witnessing a slump in trade. However, officials clarified that the guidelines were fixed by the Election Commission and added that anybody being able to account for the money, provide source, and reasons will be at liberty to take back the cash.
Representatives of political parties said that the rule relating to seizure of articles supposed to be disbursed as gift items to the voters valued at more than Rs.10,000 needs a revisit. Officials also said that any violation will be added to the expenditure account of the candidate and in terms of wall graffiti, cost spent on removing them will also be added to the expenditure account.
In addition, officials also pointed out that the attempts to bribe voters will lead to the invoking of section 171 B and 171 E of the Indian Penal Code besides the relevant provisions of the Representation of the People Act.
Collector also exhorted the parties to comply with the norms relating to use of number of vehicles for campaign, on the day of filing of nominations and on the day of polling. In addition, parties were exhorted to desist from using public address system between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.