EC guidelines to ensure prohibition during polling

Chandigarh, Feb 1 (PTI) The Election Commission today issued extensive guidelines to the District Election Officers to ensure prohibition during the period of 48 hours starting from 5 pm on February 2 till 5 pm on February 4 for conclusion of polls in Punjab to be held on February 4.

Giving details on this, Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab, V K Singh said the guidelines have been issued in accordance with the provisions enacted in the Section 126 Representation of Peoples’ Act 1951.

According to the guidelines, the ongoing campaigning in all the 117 assembly constituencies and Amritsar Lok Sabha bypoll would come to an end 48 hours prior to the polling date.

Subsequently all the political leaders, functionaries or party workers who are not the registered voters will have to vacate the constituency within this period, said Singh.

Necessary guidelines have been issued to the police and civil administration all across the state to ensure that outsiders who are not required leave immediately.

All the political parties have also been briefed on this so that the EC directive could be followed, said Singh.

The commission has also directed the election and police administration to keep a close check on the community centres, guest houses and lodges so that the outsiders, if any, could be kept housed without causing any disturbance during the electoral process.

The identity cards of those who stay there in the constituency would also be checked, he added.

He also said that the administration has been asked to ensure all those who have been under security cover could remain there in the constituency in which they are the registered voters, till the poll day.

Adding further, he said that these directions would not be applicable on the contesting candidates or the state heads of the political parties but they would be allowed to move only between their state party office and their residence about which the Election Commission has already been informed.

Singh also said that the plying of the two wheelers would also be restricted 24 hours before the polling date.

These restrictions would not be applicable to the two wheelers carrying an ailing, physically challenged or the officers/employees who are discharging government duties, added Singh.

The Election Commission has also imposed complete prohibition on broadcasting or propagating election-related material on TV, radio or newspapers.

Any such material influencing the voters would not be permissible during the 48 hours before the poll.

However, any advertisement being published in the newspapers on February 3 and 4, requires prior permission or certification from the EC, added Singh.

He further said that all electronic media advertisements, except the bulk SMS, IVRS and social media are banned for broadcast during the last 48 hours ending with poll that is starting from 5 pm of February 2 till 5 pm of February 4.