EC on lookout, Ramlila & Puja samitis keep politicians away

ECAam Aadmi Party supporters at a Durga Puja pandal in CR Park. RAVI KANOJIA

The Election Commission's code of conduct came into effect on October 4, and has diluted the political hues of the season's Ramlilas and Durga Puja pandals. Organisers are taking special care to steer clear of trouble.

According to the code of conduct, underlined by Chief Electoral Officer Vijay Dev, "religious platforms cannot be used to induce voters." Following this announcement, showcause notices were issued to political leaders for displaying their names and photographs at Ramlila venues. As many as 212 FIRs have been registered for violating the model code of conduct in a week since the poll dates were announced, with the Aam Aadmi Party booked the maximum times (53), followed by BJP (45), Congress (43) and BSP (13).

Following the showcause notices and FIRs, posters carrying images of political patrons were conspicuous by their absence this year at prominent Ramlila grounds and Durga Puja pandals. Further, organisers mentioned that though invitations were issued to celebrities, MPs and MLAs, they were not allowed to address the audience.

"When political leaders come, we show them around the pandal and then offer refreshments... We do not hand them the microphone at any cost," Anita Haldar, organising committee member at the Kalibari Puja Pandal, C R Park, said.

Her thoughts were echoed by a member of the organising committee at the Nav Shri Dharmik Leela Committee. "We invite political leaders but do not take them on the stage... we take them to nearby marquees, where they are felicitated," he said.

Sources at the Luv Kush Ram Lila Committee said they had even cancelled visits by dignitaries this year. "We had planned on calling Ramdev, but we cancelled at the last minute... if he had come and uttered anything political, it would have created unwanted controversy," a source said.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) volunteers, sporting party caps, were spotted at puja pandals in C R Park on Friday. "This is your time to make a change, do not let it go," a volunteer was heard telling a group of youngsters at Mela ground, C R Park.

... contd.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views, opinions and comments posted are your, and are not endorsed by this website. You shall be solely responsible for the comment posted here. The website reserves the right to delete, reject, or otherwise remove any views, opinions and comments posted or part thereof. You shall ensure that the comment is not inflammatory, abusive, derogatory, defamatory &/or obscene, or contain pornographic matter and/or does not constitute hate mail, or violate privacy of any person (s) or breach confidentiality or otherwise is illegal, immoral or contrary to public policy. Nor should it contain anything infringing copyright &/or intellectual property rights of any person(s).
comments powered by Disqus