Central and State Ministers are barred from making official visits as per the election code that came into force with the announcement of the poll schedule for the Rayalaseema West MLC elections, in charge Collector K. Nirmala said on Thursday.

Addressing officials in a meeting on Election Commission of India guidelines that came into force, Ms. Nirmala directed officials not to call on any Ministers on their private visits, carry placards etc. and said they would be liable for penal action for violating the EC code. All the election-related meetings should be videographed and video copies sent to the election observers, she said. Hoardings, cut-outs, flexiboards should not be permitted and they should be removed if placed anywhere and criminal cases registered against those responsible, she stated.

No Government department should make any policy announcements. Educational institutions, religious places and government offices should not be used for electioneering. Private lands, buildings and compound walls should not be used for pasting banners, writing slogans or tying flags, without obtaining prior permission, the in charge Collector said. Political parties, leaders and contestants should not be allowed to take part in auctions or stay in government guest houses.

Those permitted to address a public meeting would be entitled to put up banners and hoardings two hours before commencement of the meeting and they should remove them within an hour of completion of the meeting, Superintendent of Police Tarun Joshi said.