As the State gears up for the Assembly elections to be held on May 5, Dakshina Kannada is set to have a committee for checking ‘paid news’ and monitoring advertisements.
With the model code of conduct in force, K. Harish Kumar, Mangalore City Corporation Commissioner, said in a press conference he addressed along with Deputy Commissioner N. Prakash, that a committee consisting of a Block Education Officer, election officer, election observer, Press Council of India representative – or, an “unbiased” senior citizen or journalist appointed by the Deputy Commissioner – will be formed to clear the content of advertisements and keep a watch on paid news.
“All costs by the party and the candidates need to be reported to the committee. Content that advocate hate, religious, caste division will be barred,” said Mr. Kumar.
Meanwhile, official machinery is geared up to renew the voters’ list. The Deputy Commissioner said, “We have carried out meetings with city officials and discussions at the Gram Panchayat level and ordered direct Panchayat Development Officers to register new voters.” Claiming that officials had been warned against dereliction in this regard, he said the list of officers who had worked in the district for more than three years – as demanded by the State Election Commission – will be given before March 24.
Nominations can be filed between April 10 and 17; scrutiny of nominations is on April 18; last date for withdrawal is April 20. Elections on May 5 will start from 8 a.m. instead of 7 a.m. and go on till 5 p.m. as followed before.
The Deputy Commissioner said though 99.76 per cent of voters have been issued voter ID card with photograph, those without photographs will be issued a new ID card through the booth-level officers. Corrections and enrolment can be done before April 13.
“All in all, I think there will be an increased voter percentage in the district. The Urban Local Body elections saw a 3 per cent increase, and so, a 10 to 15 per cent increase in the Assembly elections can be expected,” said Mr. Prakash.