Warns those trying to influence staff who received postal ballot papers

The State Elections Department has cautioned government servants against trying to influence those who received postal ballot papers.

Responding to news reports that candidates, political parties and service associations of government employees and teachers were seeking support from such voters, the Department, in a statement on Saturday, stated that “any mistake on the part of government servants will entail exemplary disciplinary action.” It reminded the government employees that the campaign period for the elections came to an end at 5 p.m. on April 11. Besides, no government servant could take part, in any form, in any election-related activity or campaign for a political party.

The release also said that political parties canvassing for themselves after the campaign period was violation of the Model Code of Conduct. Any inducement to voters was a corrupt practice and entailed punishment or penal action.

To a query whether the rule of allowing postal ballots to be cast till 7 a.m. on the day of counting would not be misused, Chief Electoral Officer Praveen Kumar replied that there were two training camps for the government employees on March 27 and April 3. In the first camp, the employees were given forms for ballots and on the day of the second camp, boxes were kept at the venues of training centres. The CEO said most of the employees would have exercised their franchise.