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Tamil Nadu - Vellore Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Vellore to seek clarifications from EC

Special Correspondent

Regarding use of private buildings, space for poll graffiti and hoardings


Collector presides over meeting of recognised/registered political parties

Government rest houses not to be used for election propaganda


VELLORE: The district administration will seek clarification from the Election Commission regarding the use of private buildings for writing election propaganda messages and poll-related information during the run-up to the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections on May 13, according to Collector C. Rajendran.

He was presiding over a meeting of recognised/registered political parties convened by him at the Collectorate here on Thursday to discuss the electoral code of conduct. Several political party representatives wanted to know the rules regarding writing poll graffiti on private buildings. A. Suganthi, Additional Collector, said that as per the Tamil Nadu Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act 1959, no electoral hoardings shall be allowed in open places which included private places in public view. The Act also specifies that no wall writings shall be allowed in private buildings even with the permission of the building owners.

The Collector said that the district administration would seek clarification from the Election Commission and the Chief Electoral Officer on whether the Tamil Nadu Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act 1959 would be applicable for the defacement of buildings caused by political parties and candidates for their electoral propaganda and other poll graffiti during the run-up to the elections.

A representative of the Bharatiya Janata Party said that only government officials should be allowed to stay in government rest houses during election campaign period and not ruling party representatives. Ms. Suganthi said that government rest houses would be allowed to be used only for staying and not for carrying on election propaganda work. As far as use of vehicles for election propaganda is concerned, the administration will seek applications from political parties and inform them within a week about the number of vehicles that would be allowed.

The BJP representative said that the power of granting permission to political parties and candidates to use autorickshaws for election propaganda should be delegated to the Inspectors of Police. N. Arivuselvam, Superintendent of Police, Vellore, said that parties and candidates should intimate the Returning Officers concerned about the particulars of the vehicles which they wanted to use for propaganda. The police would give permission based on the list approved by the Returning Officers. Campaigning through autorickshaws would not be allowed. Permission for holding public meetings could be obtained from the police stations concerned, he said.

In reply to a question, Mr. Rajendran said that each candidate would be given a set of the voters’ list pertaining to the constituency where he or she would be contesting. Mr. Arivuselvam parried a question by a party representative as to what action had been taken on the cases filed by the police in respect of poll code violations during the past elections, and whether and what kind of punishment was meted out to them by the courts. “This is not the forum to address such questions”, he said.

Earlier, there was heated argument among N. Subramani, organising secretary of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, T.A. Mohammed Saqhy, former district secretary of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, and K.L. Elavazagan (Pattali Makkal Katchi), Arcot MLA, when Mr. Saqhy said that all officials were good, in reply to a statement by Mr. Subramani that no action was taken on a complaint by the MDMK about casting of bogus votes by an official during the last Assembly Election in a polling booth in Makkan in Vellore. Both Mr. Subramani and Mr. Elavazagan said that it was for the Collector to reply to the statement.

Mr. Rajendran appealed to the partymen to maintain calm, assuring them that the government would take proper action against officials who committed such offences.

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