Poll code effect: Marriage halls under scanner

Requests from politicians to serve food have been turned down

Marriage halls (kalyan mantaps) have also come under the scanner of officers enforcing the model code of conduct ahead of the May 12 Assembly polls in a bid to prevent political parties, their leaders and candidates from “misusing” the occasions to woo voters who attended weddings.

However, people need not worry about the poll code if the weddings were being conducted genuinely and were free from ‘political interference’. If the occasions were misused for political reasons, to influence voters by any person distributing freebies citing the occasion, then it would be a violation under the model code, according to authorities here.

Eye on weddings

“All weddings halls across 11 constituencies have come under our watch, with people responsible for enforcing the model code keeping an eye on them and conducting inspections, if necessary, in case of any misuse. So far, no misuse had been reported. If we come across any complaints, we will verify them and act accordingly,” said District Election Officer K.B. Shivakumar.

Speaking to The Hindu, he said the people conducting genuine weddings need not have to worry at all and the organisers were free from carrying out the function as per their wish. Model code of conduct comes into picture only if any political activity was reported or if the event was misused for political reasons in the light of elections.

Requests to serve food

Mr Shivakumar said he had been getting a lot of queries from the people, including from some influential political leaders, seeking clearances for serving food to the people.

“We have turned down requests from leaders seeking permission for distribution of food to hundreds of people. As it becomes a violation since it will be treated as an act to influence the voters, the requests have been denied,” he clarified.

In reply to a question, the Deputy Commissioner said those who are part of a campaign trail are free to serve the food. “It is fine if the number of people is less than 50 or 100. It concerns requests for serving food to 1,000 or 2,000 people,” he said.

Mr. Shivakumar said the political parties and leaders cooperated with the authorities after their doubts on food service were cleared. “We are acting on the requests looking at the situations and the occasions. Till now however, not all requests had been turned down,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 2:00:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/poll-code-effect-marriage-halls-under-scanner/article23438187.ece

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