Parties jostle for space at meet convened by police

Cramped:Representatives of recognised political parties left the Police meeting as district-level leaders occupied the chairs in advance resulting in confusion on Friday.— Photo: T. Singaravelou  

A meeting of representatives of political parties convened by the police to ensure peaceful polls ended in pandemonium on Friday.

A larger than expected number of representatives turned up for the meeting only to find the venue was too small to accommodate all of them.

The office of Superintendent of Police, Special Branch, had sent a circular to all political parties and independent candidates stating that there would be a co-ordination meeting in respect of Assembly Election-2016 with State/ District-Level leaders and senior functionaries of all political parties in the conference hall of police headquarters at 11.30 am on Friday. The leaders and senior functionaries of political parties were requested to attend the meeting positively.

As it transpired, well ahead of the scheduled time, district-level leaders assembled at the police headquarters and occupied the chairs before the arrival of State leaders. When they turned up, State leaders such as CPI national council member N. Kalainathan, BJP MLA M. Visweswaran, AINRC treasurer S. Velmurugan and others found all the seats were already taken.

Senior Superintendent of Police Rajiv Ranjan requested the representatives to decide among themselves on who should attend the meeting given the limited seating capacity in the room.

Infuriated over the improper way of conducting the meeting, the top leaders from Congress, AINRC, AIADMK and CPI registered their strong protest. Entering the hall, Mr. Kalainathan thundered, “This is not the proper way to conduct the meeting.”

Pandemonium prevailed for a while until the police officers expressed regret citing that there was a communication gap. “There is no proper arrangement and no due respect given to representatives of recognised political parties who came here for the meeting. Many unknown faces were already seated there before we arrived. Hence we are boycotting the meeting,” said AINRC treasurer Mr. Velmurugan.

Separate meeting

Later they relented to concur with the suggestion of Senior Superintendent of Police N. Gnanasambandan who stated that the Friday meeting would be confined to independents and that a separate meeting would be convened for representatives of the recognised political parties.

Following this agreement, the representatives of recognised political parties left the venue and the meeting commenced with independents and a few other representatives. Ironically, there were more police personnel than the 13 representatives who attended the meeting.

Mr. Gnanasambandan said the police would take all necessary steps for the conduct of peaceful, free and fair polls and all preventive measures suggested by Election Commission of India have been taken by the police.

He said the people can contact the control room round the clock and complain about any inducement to voters.

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Printable version | Jan 15, 2021 9:13:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/parties-jostle-for-space-at-meet-convened-by-police/article8568498.ece

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