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Rules regarding conduct of election campaign meetings laid out

P.V.V. Murthi
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All-party meet on model code for elections held

P. Vijayakumar (second from left), SP, Vellore addressing an all-party meeting on the Model Code for the Lok Sabha elections, at the Collectorate in Vellore on Thursday. R. Nanthagopal (third from left), Collector, is also seen.—Photo: C. Venkatachalapathy
P. Vijayakumar (second from left), SP, Vellore addressing an all-party meeting on the Model Code for the Lok Sabha elections, at the Collectorate in Vellore on Thursday. R. Nanthagopal (third from left), Collector, is also seen.—Photo: C. Venkatachalapathy

While permission for the conduct of election campaign meetings would be given on a ‘first-come, first-served basis’ to political parties which applied 48 hours to 72 hours before the time of the meeting, priority would be given for meetings to be addressed by national, state, district, panchayat union and town-level leaders, in that order. This would be as per the list of such leaders to be furnished by the respective political parties, based on a consensus among the parties, according to P. Vijayakumar, Superintendent of Police, Vellore district.

Addressing a meeting of all political parties along with the District Collector R. Nanthagopal on the implementation of the model code for the Lok Sabha elections at the Collectorate here on Thursday, Mr. Vijayakumar said that this approach would be followed in respect to all political parties. Meetings or assembly of five or more persons would be allowed only with the permission of the police under Section 30 (2) of the Police Act.

Meetings or rallies can be conducted only with the permission of a police official of the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police or above. Requests for permission should be forwarded to the concerned police stations 48 hours before the scheduled time of commencement of the meeting.

The SP said that even if permission had already been granted for a public meeting to be addressed by a lower-level leader, the permission would be cancelled in favour of a higher-level leader of any party if a request for holding of a meeting by a higher level leader was received before 48 hours.

Mr. Vijayakumar sought the cooperation of the political parties in the conduct of the meetings smoothly. All party meetings would be conducted jointly by the sub-divisional DSPs and the concerned RDOs in the sub-divisional headquarters on Friday to finalise the venues of the public meetings to be addressed by the various leaders in the district, he said.

The Collector said that 13 committees, each headed by a gazetted officer, have been constituted, for the 13 Assembly segments, in order to monitor the implementation of the model code. These committees would monitor the adherence to the code in meetings and rallies, and also take action to remove unauthorised banners and cut-outs and erase unauthorised wall graffiti. Powers for taking action to remove the unauthorised banners and cut-outs and graffiti have been conferred on the Corporation Commissioner in the Vellore Corporation area, on municipal commissioners in municipalities, on Tahsildars in villages and on executive officers in town panchayat areas.

Rules regarding banners

Mr. Nanthagopal said that even if political parties wanted to erect banners or cut-outs, or paste posters and write graffiti on the walls of private buildings, they are bound to obtain permission not only from the building owner but also from the concerned RDO, failing which they would be removed. Erection of banners/cut-outs and pasting of posters and writing of graffiti are banned in all government/quasi-government buildings.

The unauthorised advertisements on public structures would be monitored by the junior engineer/assistant engineer of the State Highways in the case of highways roads, and by the junior engineer/assistant engineer of the PWD in the case of bridges and government buildings.

The Collector said that public meetings or use of mikes for these meetings beyond 10 p.m. have been banned.

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