Gujarat candidates barred from proxy journalism


Rajkot : The Election Commission Tuesday asked candidates in Gujarat to refrain from putting out their campaign advertisements in the form of news in newspapers.

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Talking to reporters here, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) N. Gopalaswami said if any election observer finds any instance of this practice, the candidate concerned would be charged for the advertisement as the amount would be included in the election expenditure.

Gopalaswami was in Rajkot along with two other election commissioners to take stock of the preparedness for the Dec 11 first phase of the forthcoming assembly elections. He held meetings with police and administrative chiefs of various districts in Saurashtra region.

He expressed satisfaction over the poll preparedness in the districts.

The Election Commission has accepted the demand aired by various political parties for a single window clearance for the use of vehicles for campaigning.

Gopalaswami disclosed that a complaint about the sale of an election photo identity card (EPIC) in Upleta town of Rajkot district was being probed.

“Let me make it very clear that we will come down very heavily on any attempts at bogus voting,” he said.

Responding to a request from political parties, the Election Commission has agreed to reduce the distance between a polling booth and any office of a political party from 200 metres to 100 metres in urban areas. He, however, said no political activities from these offices would be allowed during the 48 hours ahead of the polling.

He disclosed that the number of absentee and shifted voters was found to be high in the constituencies of Rajkot 1 and 2, Anjar, Dasada, Jamnagar Rural and Junagadh. He said identity of voters casting their votes in such areas will be doubly checked.