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Leave religion alone, EC to parties
September 10, 2004 17:03 IST
Last Updated: September 10, 2004 17:06 IST
The election commission on Friday asked political parties not to use the Ganesh festival or inflame religious sentiments to garner votes during the Maharashtra assembly election.
"Religious sentiments should not be used for political purposes," Chief Election Commissioner T S Krishnamurty said. "This applies to all political parties. There are enough provisions in the IPC to proceed against if religious celebrations are patently politicised."
The CEC made the statement after a meeting of observers for the assembly elections in Maharashtra and Arunachal Pradesh and also by-polls to four Lok Sabha and 40 assembly constituencies.
Asked whether Bharatiya Janata Party leader Uma Bharti's 'Tiranga Yatra' would vitiate the atmosphere in Maharashtra, he said, "The state concerned has enough powers. We do not proceed on assumptions. When the problem comes, adequate action will be taken either by the state government or by the election commission."
During the meeting the CEC asked the observers to be unbiased.
Election Commissioner B B Tandon said the observers were the "eyes and ears" of the commission and were also being watched by the media.
"Do no evil. Please do not demean yourself and the system by seeking lavish hospitality," Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami said.
Noting that the commission had "blacklisted" a few officials earlier, the CEC said, "Ee do not propose to call them again."
The observers should take the job more "seriously, and not as a holiday", he said.
"Your presence must be felt by everyone, by political parties and the candidates and also the polling personnel."
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