Kerala

All set to ensure electioneering is smooth

As election fever catches on, the district administration has put in place steps to ensure that the enthusiasm does not go overboard.

Squads to ensure that the model code of conduct for the polls is being strictly observed have started criss-crossing the district.

District Collector Navjot Khosa who is also the District Electoral Officer has appealed to candidates and political parties to cooperate so that the State Election Commission’s direction for monitoring candidates’ poll expenses to their campaign is implemented in a model manner.

With the list of candidates in the fray finalised after withdrawal of nominations, campaigning at the ward level has picked up pace. The Collector, at a meeting of the model code of conduct monitoring cell, urged those in the fray to strictly follow the COVID-19 safety protocols while adhering to the model code.

Crowding should not be allowed during public functions. For indoor programmes, 50% of the total capacity of a hall, subject to a maximum of 200 people, and for outdoor events, half the total number of people who can fit in the area are allowed to take part. Permissions for using microphones and vehicle permits should be taken in advance, the Collector said.

The Collector appealed to candidates to avoid mudslinging at the opposition. Any criticism of political parties or coalitions should be limited to policies. Character assassination or invasion of privacy should be avoided. Places of worship should not be used as venues for campaigning. Seeking votes while exploiting caste or religious considerations was liable to punishment, the Collector said.

The SEC had fixed limits for election expenses, she said. In grama panchayats, a candidate could spend a maximum of ₹25,000. For block panchayats, it would be ₹75,000, for municipalities, ₹1 lakh, and for district panchayat divisions and Corporation wards, it would be ₹1.5 lakh. Expenditure observers too had started their work, Ms. Khosa said at the meeting.

Anti-defacement squads had removed 1,998 illegal election materials so far. The sqauds would also remove campaign advertisement boards put up in violation of the order to remove them and charge the expenses for their removal to the candidates, the Collector said. Seven such squads were functioning at the taluk level in the district. The Collector said one policeman/woman would be posted to squad to strengthen its functioning. Any violations should be reported to the squad in the taluk concerned, she said. The district-level nodal officer could be contacted on 8547610014, 9446034046; Thiruvananthapuram taluk-9847280610; Nedumangad-9447027556; Kattakada-9447794471; Varkala- 9447855880; Neyyattinkara-8281522880, 8848109792; and Chirayinkeezhu-9446490873.

The Collector also directed that a decision on applications for conducting campaign programmes in places, halls, or parks under the government, or organisations under the government, or local self-government institutions should be taken within 24 hours.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2021 1:59:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/all-set-to-ensure-electioneering-is-smooth/article33173062.ece

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