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Election Commission: Candidates can hold rallies only after filing papers

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With several Independent candidates wishing to contest the Assembly elections complaining that they are not being allowed to hold rallies and meetings, Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar on Saturday clarified that any candidate — either Independent or belonging to a party — can do so only after filing nomination papers.

“Permission cannot be granted till such a time as it will be violation of various laws, including IPC, Representation of People Act, Police Act, and municipal laws too,” he told presspersons when his attention was drawn to returning officers not giving permission for candidates to campaign.

In several constituencies, election officials have denied permission to Independent candidates to conduct rallies or public meeting till the filing of nomination papers. Political parties are allowed to hold rallies and public meetings, while after filing nominations, individual candidates can host rallies and meetings, Election Commission sources said. The nomination process starts on April 17.

However, some Independent candidates have complained that even if they file their nominations early, they will get just about 24 days for campaigning.

“Till the nomination is filed we do not know who will be the candidate. Likewise, permission cannot be granted to everyone,” Mr. Kumar said.

No extension of time

CEO Sanjiv Kumar said that Election Commission had no plans to increase time for voting on May 12, when asked if was being contemplated to improve voting percentage since it was peak summer. He said that it is difficult to extend time since logistics of 58000 polling booths have to be worked out. “We are making sufficient provision for drinking water and ORS facility in each of the booth owing to heat condition.”

Source: The Hindu

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