All advertising and campaign material designed by political parties and meant for electronic media including radio have to be scanned and mandatorily pre-certified by the District Media Certification and Monitoring Committee, said District Collector M. Raghunandan Rao. He was briefing the political parties on the nomination process and model code of conduct here on Wednesday.

The pre-certification has been made mandatory by the Election Commission of India (ECI) and in the case of paid news in print media, the candidates will have to record the expenses in the register that will be provided by Returning Officers (RO) at the time of filing of nominations. “If paid news is not recorded, the candidate may face disqualification even after getting elected,” said Mr. Raghunandan.

Leaders disappointed

The political parties apparently looked upset as the Collector rolled out one rule after another. A senior leader was heard grunting, “Elections were never that difficult before.”

The leaders objected vehemently when the Collector said that as per EC’s guidelines, the candidates were not supposed to use any loudspeaker from a moving vehicle. Negating their objection, Police Commissioner B. Sreenivasulu put in bluntly: “Rules once stated are meant to be followed. Ignorance will not be accepted.”

According to the Collector, if a star campaigner or a State or national leader comes to the constituency and the local candidate or candidates are found to share the same campaign vehicle or dais, then the estimated expenditure will be billed to the candidate or candidates.

Informing the nomination dates, the Collector said that it begins from April 12 and ends on April 19 at 3 p.m. In between, nominations will not be accepted on April 13,14 and 18 on account of holidays.

Poll expenditure

He categorically pointed out that all candidates will have to open a bank account, preferably in a nationalised bank, at least one day before the filing of nomination. “All election expenditure will have to be routed through the account,” he said. Mr. Raghunandan Rao also informed the leaders present that a register will be given by the RO for recording of expenditures and only rates as given in the rate chart will be accepted by the observers. About 14 observers have been assigned to the district, he said.

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