Parrikar moves to control the damage

PANAJI, MARCH 3. Even as the Election Commission is considering initiating action against the Goa Government for an alleged violation of the model code of conduct, the Chief Minister, Manohar Parrikar, has directed all the departments not to release advertisements in the media till the Lok Sabha elections are over.

The Congress lodged a formal complaint with the Chief Electoral Officer on Tuesday about the release of several advertisements on the Verna Industrial Estate by the Government and its agencies in a special supplement of a local daily. Mr. Parrikar instructed his secretary, P. Krishnamurthy, to request all newspapers to refrain from carrying any Government advertisement that may have been released earlier. It is learnt that the Government is trying to find out how the advertisement came to be released on Tuesday.

The Chief Electoral Officer, B.S. Bhalla, will be writing to the Government seeking clarifications on the alleged violation of the code. Mr. Bhalla told The Hindu that the Commission would like to know whether the publication was intentional or unintentional. ``Prima facie, the publication appears to be a violation of the code.'' However, he hastened to add that they must have been released earlier as the special supplement came out just two days after the announcement of the election schedule. He would forward the Government's clarification to the Election Commission of India, which would take a final decision.