Staff Reporter

Applications to be filed before November 1

Special squad removes 1,356 campaign materials

Setting of ballots on voting machines on November 4

KOCHI: A committee has come into force to scrutinise and approve advertisements and other campaign materials published in the media by political parties and candidates in connection with the byelection to the Ernakulam Assembly constituency.

Advertisements to be carried in audio-visual media should have the approval of the scrutiny committee. Applications in this regard should reach the chief election officer by November 1.

Another committee had also been set up to hear the appeals on the decision of the scrutiny committee. The scrutiny committee is chaired by assistant election officer B. Rajagopal and has Thiruvananthapuram district collector Sanjay Kaul, and director of the Doordarshan Kendra, Thiruvananthapuram centre, T. Chamiyar as members. The chief election officer Nalini Netto chairs the appeal committee.

Two copies of advertisements written on CDs along with the application in the requisite format should be filed before the scrutiny committee. Complaints, if any, along with the certificate of the scrutiny committee should be filed before the appeals committee. No advertisement devoid of the certificate of approval of the committee should be circulated through the electronic media, Ms. Netto said.

A special squad led by the returning officer has in the last two days removed 1,356 campaign materials exhibited in public places in violation of the election code.

LDF candidate P.N. Seenulal’s 431 posters and six flex boards placed in various places in the city were removed in this manner. UDF candidate Dominic Presentation’s 238 posters and a flex board were removed, while the BJP candidate Shobha Surendran’s 256 posters and seven flex boards were also removed.

Besides, 257 flags of the UDF candidate and 18 flags of the BJP candidates were also seized. Twelve graffiti writings of the LDF and 22 writings of the UDF were also erased.

The polling materials for the byelection would be distributed at the centenary hall of the Maharaja’s College on November 6. The hall would also serve as collection centre of these materials after the election. Usually, the distribution centre itself doubles up as the counting centre. The decision in this regard, however, was subjected to the discretion of the election commission.

Returning officer K.N. Raveendran has said that setting ballots on voting machines would be done at the Maharaja’s College on November 4.

Ballots would be set on all 137 voting machines and reserve machines. Notices were being issued asking the candidate or his/her election agents to be present on the occasion of setting voter machines.

The two-day training to 650-odd officials to be deployed for the byelection started at the centenary hall of the Maharaja’s College on Thursday.

Presiding officers and first polling officials were given training on the first day. Second and third polling officials would be given training on Friday.

Officials had been divided into four batches for training. Central observer Badari Narayanadas, Mr. Raveendran, and assistant returning officer S. Jayalakshmi led the training.

Each polling booth would have four officials each. The constituency would have 137 booths.

Twenty per cent of the total strength of the officials needed for the election duty had been kept on reserve and would also be trained.