CM’s meeting with Vokkaligas at Community Hall under EC scanner

Mysuru: Marriage Halls (Kalyana Mantaps) and Community Halls have come under Election Commission (EC) scanner ahead of the May 12 Assembly elections in a bid to prevent political parties, candidates and their leaders from misusing marriage and other occasions to woo voters.

Even Chief Minister Siddharamaiah’s visit to the Sriranga Samudaya Bhavan at Nivedithanagar near Sharadadevinagar here this noon where he addressed Vokkaliga leaders from Chamundeshwari Constituency did not escape the eagle eyes of the Commission. A five-member team from the District Electoral Office visited the Samudaya Bhavan and videographed the proceedings.

Vehicles coming to the venue were checked if they sported permission letters issued by the District Election Officers and the number of vehicles too was recorded. Vehicles that did not have permission letters were asked to leave the venue.  

Seeing the massive crowd at the Sriranga Samudaya Bhavan, Congress workers decided to shift the meeting venue to a nearby vacant plot and erected a pendal for the CM to hold the meeting.

According to Additional Deputy Commissioner T. Yogesh, who is also the Assistant District Election Officer, weddings and community events must not be misused by political parties to campaign for their candidates. If such occasions were misused for political reasons to influence voters by any person distributing food and freebies citing the occasion, then it would be a violation under the Election Model Code of Conduct, he added.

All Returning Officers in various zones have been asked to keep an eye on marriage and community halls in their jurisdiction. They have been asked to obtain a list of events from the owners of the community halls. Owners must inform the Returning Officers if a political leader was supposed to visit the event.

All weddings halls across 11 constituencies in Mysuru are under watch and the officers are conducting inspections in case of any misuse. People conducting genuine weddings need not have to worry at all and the organisers were free from carrying out the event as per their wish. Model Code of Conduct comes into picture only if any political activity was reported or if the event was misused for political reasons, he added.

Along with the strict vigil on marriage halls, Excise Department officers are tracking the movement of liquor from one place to another. So far, after the Model Code of Conduct was announced, 62 litres of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), six litres of beer and 105 litres of wine have been seized along with one car and two two-wheelers that were used to transport the liquor.

Apart from the 49 check-posts set up across the district to check the flow of cash, liquor and freebies, there are seven check-posts exclusively set up by Excise Department. There are 93 flying squads, 210 Model Code of Conduct teams, 138 Static Surveillance teams and 209 Sectoral Officers across the district who are monitoring the electoral process.  

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