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EC curbs on Ministers, legislators during polls

Friday 27 October 2006

Special Correspondent

First phase of local bodies election in U. P. on Saturday

Elections to be held in 167 Nagar Palika Parishads to elect representatives of 4,425 wards Commission declares 1,136 booths sensitive and 1,465 hypersensitive

LUCKNOW: With polling in the first phase of the three-tier local bodies elections in Uttar Pradesh to be held this Saturday, the State Election Commission has placed restrictions on stay and movement of Ministers, MPs and MLAs in the districts going to the polls. A circular to this effect has gone out to all the district magistrates from the State Election Commission (Panchayats and Local Bodies).

Similar arrangement would be in place for the remaining phases on October 31 and November 3.

Campaigning for the first phase ended at 5 p.m. on Thursday. Elections on Saturday would be held in 167 Nagar Palika Parishads to elect the representatives of 4,425 wards. According to the State Election Commission, out of the 3,274 polling centres 1,136 have been declared sensitive and 1,465 hypersensitive from the law and order point of view. Additional Election Commissioner Vinay Priya Dubey said on Thursday that the Central Government had agreed to send five battalions of Central para-military forces to ensure smooth conduct of the polls. Mr. Dubey said the way was paved for deployment of Central forces in the sensitive and hypersensitive places after talks between the State Election Commissioner, Aparmita Prasad Singh, and the Union Minister of State for Home, Sri Prakash Jaiswal.

Mr. Dubey said the deployment plan would be worked out by the district magistrates in consultation with the Commission.

In its circular, the Commission had passed stern directives to the DMs and the district election officers to ensure that Ministers, MPs, MLAs and MLCs are not present in the area where polling is to be held, or in their home districts, from the last day of campaigning till the day of elections. However, they would be allowed to cast their votes only if their names figure on the voters’ list, following which they would immediately leave the polling centre. To rule out the possibility of the polling being influenced by extraneous factors, the Commission had banned the ministers, MPs and MLAs from interacting with the people of the areas where polls would be held in the three phases.

Mobiles banned

The Commission had also banned carrying of mobile phones (carried by election agents of the political parties) to the polling centres. Mr. Dubey said this was done to ensure the polling agents don’t summon their supporters in case of some disturbance at a polling centre.

Over 90 lakh voters will exercise their franchise in the first phase.

Meanwhile, the inspector of the Bhartana police station in Etawah district, Ram Nath Singh Yadav, has been removed from polling duty and attached to the office of DIG, Range, Kanpur, on the ground that his daughter-in-law is contesting the Bhartana Nagar Palika Parishad election on Saturday.

Another police officer, Kishan Singh Talaon, Inspector of Shamli in Muzzafaranagar district, has been attached to the office of DIG, Meerut Range, whereas the Circle Officer of Orai, Asha Ram Yadav, has been attached to the office of SP, Jalaun. Orders for their removal were issued by the Commission on Thursday.

A PCS officer, Shri Nath Shukla, SDM, Mohammadabad, Ghazipur district had been attached to the office of Varanasi Divisional Commissioner.

See online : The Hindu

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