The Election Commission on Tuesday asked the BJP to take prior permission for organising its “chai pe charcha” programme and ensure that the model code of conduct is not violated at any cost.

“The Commission has issued an advisory that the chai pe charcha programme shall be organised only after the prior permission of the district election authorities,” UP Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha said.

On media reports suggesting distribution of tea has been banned, Mr. Sinha said permission will be granted by the concerned authorities on condition that those taking part in the programme should bear the cost of the tea.

“The party has also responded to it with the state unit president Laxmikant Bajpai assuring us that all individuals taking part in the charcha will pay for the tea,” he said.

The CEO said there is no ban on the “chai pe charcha programme.”

On Sunday, an FIR had been lodged against over 24 BJP leaders and activists at Mohammadi Kotwali Police Station in Lakhimpur Kheri district for alleged violation of model code of conduct.

The complaint alleged the BJP workers had put up tea stalls on busy Mohammadi road and offered tea to the people amid blaring of loudspeakers without seeking prior permission from district election authorities.

Over 24 BJP leaders and activists have been named in the FIR, police said.

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