Poll panel asks for report on Commonwealth Games ads


New Delhi : The Election Commission Tuesday asked the central government sports secretary to submit a detailed report regarding the advertisements about the Commonwealth Games 2010.

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“The Election Commission, which summoned the sports secretary Tuesday, held discussions with him and asked him to define the linkage between the ministry and the Commonwealth Games organising committee,” Deputy Election Commission R. Balakrishnan told reporters here.

The poll panel asked the sports secretary to submit the report by April 1.

The Election Commission had earlier asked both the central and Delhi governments to recover the cost of full-page newspaper advertisements about the Commonwealth Games 2010 from the officers who approved the media blitz, as it violated the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha polls.

The advertisements, that appeared in several newspapers March 6, listed the achievements of the central and Delhi governments on the development work carried out for the Games in the capital, including the building of 24 flyovers, improving 1,285 km of roads and inducting 5,000 low-floor buses.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Ravi Shanker Prasad had said that his party had filed the complaint against the “abuse of public money to further the government’s image”.

The Election Commission asked the top officials of the central and Delhi governments to provide “the name and address of the organisation which published the advertisements, the names of the officers/persons who authorised the release of the advertisements; and the total expenditure incurred in the publication of the advertisements in all the newspapers”.

“There was no mention about the authority which authorised the issue of the advertisement. This is a clear violation of the model code of conduct, which prohibits publication of the achievements of the governments at the cost of the public exchequer,” the commission said.