EC urged to clarify position on poll code

Special Correspondent

Forum for Better Visakha expresses concern over the extraordinary long time span applied

Services and schemes in essential sectors getting adversely affectedClarification should not in any case leave room for poll malpractices

VISAKHAPATNAM: The Forum for Better Visakha has made a fervent appeal to the Election Commission to clarify the position on the protracted election code prevailing in the district to the State Government and the district authorities and the geographic limits for its application so that essential schemes and services do not suffer.

Expressing concern at the extraordinary long time span over which the election code for the byelection to Visakhapatnam-I Assembly constituency had been applied and the consequent problems that had arisen in running the day-to-day essential schemes and services in Visakhapatnam district and neighbourhood, the forum noted that the State Government and district level functionaries in Visakhapatnam seemed to interpret the election code in an unduly restrictive manner that was not perhaps intended by the Election Commission itself.

One month delay

"As a result, services and schemes essential in sectors such as public health, education, welfare and poverty alleviation that are routine in character and of an urgent nature have got adversely affected," former Energy Secretary and coordinator of the forum E.A.S. Sarma said. It had become important that the EC clarified the position immediately because of the more than one-month delay in the conduct of the byelection. At the same time, the clarification, if any, to be provided by the EC should not in any case leave room for electoral malpractices being committed by the political parties and the candidates, particularly in view of the circumstances that led to the cancellation of the earlier poll, the forum strongly felt. The other members of the forum who endorsed the view were C.S. Rao of Praja Spandana, Ravi Rebbapragada of Samatha, and Alisha of Ankita Welfare Association.