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Stop Hindu Samajotsava, poll panel urged

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HEARING: M.N. Vidyashankar, Chief Electoral Officer, meeting representatives of political parties in Bangalore on Tuesday. Ajai Kumar Singh, Director-General and Inspector-General of Police, is seen.
HEARING: M.N. Vidyashankar, Chief Electoral Officer, meeting representatives of political parties in Bangalore on Tuesday. Ajai Kumar Singh, Director-General and Inspector-General of Police, is seen.

Special Correspondent

Chief Electoral Officer asks for written complaints from Congress, JD(S)

BANGALORE: The Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) on Tuesday demanded that the Election Commission of India deny permission to organisers of the Hindu Samajotsava to hold similar conventions in other parts of the State, contending that the platform was being used to create a “Hindu vote-bank” during the Lok Sabha elections.

Speaking to presspersons after an all-party meeting with State election authorities, Congress representative and former Bangalore Mayor Ramachandrappa and Janata Dal (Secular) spokesperson Y.S.V. Datta took objection to Home Minister V.S. Acharya attending such congregations.

At the convention organised by the Dharma Raksha Manch in Mangalore on Sunday, speakers referred to “discrimination against Hindus” and called for a united fight to safeguard the interests of the community.

Karnataka Chief Electoral Officer M.N. Vidyashankar, who held a meeting with leaders of different political parties on Tuesday, said the Congress and the Janata Dal (S) had not sought a ban on such conventions.

They only contended that permission given for such conventions should not be “misused” by the organisers, he said.

He said he had sought written complaints from the two parties on the issue to look into the matter.

Meanwhile, at the all-party meeting attended by senior police officers, including Director-General and Inspector-General of Police Ajai Kumar Singh and ADGP (Law and Order) A.R. Infant, matters pertaining to enforcement of the model code of conduct were discussed. The Chief Electoral Officer said the political parties had been instructed to take permission from the returning officers for hiring vehicles for the election campaign and putting up buntings and banners on public and private buildings. The police and excise officials had seized liquor estimated at Rs. 50.33 lakh and registered 101 cases since the enforcement of the model code of conduct.

As many as 13 cases had been registered in connection with the violation of the model code of conduct, Mr. Vidyashankar said.

On the issue of “dummy” candidates, the Chief Electoral Officer said the poll expenditure of dummy candidates would be included in the expenditure list of candidates in favour of whom the dummy candidate campaigned.

To a question on opinion polls, he said that according to the commission’s instructions, the print and electronic media could publish results of surveys and exit polls only after the completion of the Lok Sabha elections.

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