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Parties condemn 'high-handedness' of EC officials
April 29, 2008 17:22 IST
Political parties in Karnataka on Tuesday petitioned the Election Commission of India protesting that election authorities were interpreting ECI guidelines in their own way.
This had led to 'terrorising' of the political parties and its leaders by way of imposing unreasonable restrictions during campaigning, they alleged.
The full team of the ECI, including Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami and other members of the Commission N Y Qureshi and N C Chawla, arrived in Bengaluru on Tuesday and held a meeting with representatives of political parties.
This was conducted as part of the review of the coming assembly elections in Karnataka scheduled to be held in three phases on May 10, 16 and 22. The ECI met the representatives of all political parties and received their memorandums.
The Bharatiya Janata Party delegation, led by MLC Ganesh Karnik, met the ECI team and complained that some of the election officers and police personnel were harassing his party men, taking unreasonable objections on the use of party flags, use of vehicles, buntings and posters.
The BJP urged the ECI to immediately intervene and issue necessary instructions and warn against to do any excesses and suitable instructions on the 'erring' officials.
The BJP claimed that under the law, any individual or any party worker could hoist party flags on their houses voluntarily. However, there were many instances of flags being removed by certain authorities.
The Congress delegation, led by party spokesperson V S Ugrappa, brought to the notice of EC seizure of a helicopter in Gulbarga. Both DC and SP of Gulbarga went overboard in issuing statements that a criminal case has been hoisted against Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president Mallikarjuna Kharge on the issue. However, there was no case against Congress leaders and the pilot of the chopper seized by the district authorities landed it only after getting oral permission from concerned officials.
"The facts were concealed in going to the media on the issue which had dented the image of the party and party leaders," the ECI was told.
Leaders of the both Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India-Marxist also met the EC team and took serious objection to the state election authorities, who had banned rallies on May Day.
The Left parties told EC officials that the May Day rally was an annual affair of all the labour unions working for the unity of the labour force and has nothing to do with violation of the election code of conduct..
A Janata Dal-Secular delegation requested the CEC to clarify on the use of vehicles by their national leaders. Quoting the seizure of a the car in which JD-S leader and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda was travelling in Mysore district, the JD-S leaders urged the ECI to issue necessary guidelines to concerned authorities to issue master-vehicle-pass.
The ECI was also holding meetings with the district electoral officers, election observers, senior police officers and advisors to Governor, and taking stock of the poll preparedness in Karantaka.