Online edition of India’s National Newspaper
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Mr. Nasiruddin of BSP said if elected, he would work towards eliminating corruption .
Steps to ensure peaceful polling in naxal-hit areas
|The Maoists have threatened to disrupt polling in Chikmagalur district|
Anti-naxal force and armed policemen to be deployed
Bandobast in three stages; complaints cell to be set up
CHIKMAGALUR: Vipul Kumar, Superintendent of Police, said here on Tuesday that steps have been taken to ensure peaceful polling in the naxal-affected areas of Chikmagalur district.
Speaking to presspersons, Mr. Vipul Kumar said the threat by Maoists that they would disrupt polling has been taken seriously by the authorities and special security arrangements have been made in sensitive areas to maintain law and order.
He said 20 polling stations have been identified in these areas and the anti-naxal force as well as armed police personnel will be deployed.
He said bandobast will be made in three stages, pre-poll, during polling and post-poll.
Reiterating that the directions of the Election Commission will be strictly adhered to, he said police inspectors have been appointed as nodal officers in all the Assembly segments.
They will ensure that the model code of conduct is followed, receive complaints from the public and liaison with election observers and submit periodical reports.
In addition, a complaints cell will be started in the police headquarters in Chikmagalur as well as in all the constituencies.
Stating that officials on election duty have been supplied with hand-held cameras and digital cameras, he said violations of the model code of conduct will be recorded and reported to the Election Commission.
He said four personnel each of the Central Reserve Police Force will be deployed in all the 248 hyper sensitive polling stations in the district.
Police squads have been formed to monitor the situation in all the polling stations, he added.
He said a list of 377 persons who are absconding after being issued with non-bailable warrants by court has been prepared and presented to the district election officer with the recommendation that their names be removed from the voter list.
Similarly, the movement of 80 persons who reportedly indulged in violence in the previous three elections are being closely monitored and they will be taken into preventive custody, if necessary.
He said five check-posts have been established in M.C. Halli, Antharaghatta, Sakrepatna, Kottegehara and Aldur to check vehicles entering the district from neighbouring districts.
In addition to the 2,138 police personnel deployed for election duty, the KSRP, the BSF and a special platoon of Kerala police have also been requisitioned, he said.
Illicit liquor godown raided
KASARAGOD: A team of state police have unearthed an illicit liquor manufacturing and packaging unit at an underground floor of a house at Degoli at Hosangadi in the district on Kerala-Karnataka border. The police have sealed the underground floor and have registered a case. However, the house owner Francis who is the main accused in case escaped. The police have seized 700 packets of illicit liquor and packing machines from the place.
Ration coupon as I-card for voters
BANGALORE: The Election Commission has included one more alternative documentary proof in lieu of Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC) — computer generated temporary ration coupon, allowing voters to cast their vote in the coming Assembly elections. This is the only identity proof, which will be accepted without any photograph.
According to Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike Special Commissioner and District Election Officer B.S. Ramprasad, the coupon should contain the unique code, name of the family head, names of the members of the family and their relationship with the head.
In view of complaints from political parties that many of their polling agents to be appointed in polling booths to verify identity of voters do not possess EPIC, the commission has said any of the 17 alternative identity cards with photograph of the person, which are applicable to voters, will be accepted for polling agents too.
However, Mr. Ramprasad said, the ration coupon will not be an alternative identity proof for polling agents. If the agents posses none of the alternative identity cards, they should affix their photograph on a plain paper, write their details and get it attested by the Returning Officer concerned, Mr. Ramprasad said.
There is no relaxation in the condition that the agents to be appointed in a particular booth, should be a voter in the very same booth, he added.
Dry days declared during poll period
BANGALORE: The Election Commission has instructed the State Government and Chief Electoral Officer M.N. Vidyashankar to take necessary steps to ban the sale or distribution of liquor or other substances at hotels, eating houses, taverns, shops or any other place, public or private, within a polling area during the period of 48 hours up to the conclusion of polls.
The first of phase of elections will be held on Saturday (May 10) in 11 districts of the State. The second and third phase of polling would be held on May 16 and 22.
The commission has given the instruction under Section 135(C) of the Representation of the People Act 1951. It has instructed the Government to declare and notify ‘dry days’ under the relevant State laws.
The commission further directs that the day on which the counting of votes is to be done should also be declared ‘dry day’ under relevant State laws.
In its order to Chief Secretary Sudhakar Rao and Mr. Vidyashankar, the commission has said no hotels, restaurants, clubs and other establishments selling/serving liquor, should be permitted to sell/serve liquor to whosoever on the specified days.
Non-proprietary clubs, star hotels, restaurants and hotels who have been issued different categories of licenses for possession and supply of liquor, should also not be permitted to serve liquor on the days.
It asked the Government to take steps to curtail the storage of liquor by individuals during polling and counting days.
‘BJP distributing fake voter ID cards’
BANGALORE: Congress general secretary Vyalar Ravi has accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of being involved in distribution of fake identity cards to voters. Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, Mr. Ravi said the BJP has tried to “subvert” the electoral process by issuing the fake cards.
Mr. Ravi expressing shock over the reported incidents of issue of fake cards by the BJP. He said: “In the past, there were individuals who have tried to subvert the democratic process, but now even the official parties have begun to do that, a ‘shameful’ thing to happen.” He alleged that the BJP was using money power to “purchase” votes. He said the Congress would appeal to the Election Commission to seriously view the alleged attempt to subvert electoral process.
EC discusses arrangements for second phase
66 constituencies will go to polls in the second phase
CEC meets representatives of political parties
BANGALORE: The Election Commission on Wednesday held meeting with leaders of all political parties and the election officials to take stock of the arrangements for the second phase of elections slated for May 16.
Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami and Election Commissioners S. Y Quraishi and Navin Chawla discussed preparations made to hold elections in Koppal, Raichur, Davangere, Chitradurga and Bellary districts. State Chief Electoral Officer M. N. Vidyashankar, one general and expenditure observer from each district, Regional Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners, and top police officials attended the meeting, according to officials at the office of the Chief Electoral Office here.
The CEC and Commissioners discussed issues pertained to enforcement of model code of conduct, steps taken to control illegal movement of liquor, use of vehicles and law and order situation .
The CEC met representatives of the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, Janata Dal (Secular), Janata Dal (United), Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Communist Party of India and listened to their grievances.
Mr. Gopalaswami and two Commissioners would hold meeting with poll officials in Mangalore on Thursday and assess the poll preparedness in Udupi, Dakshina Kannada, Chikmagalur, Shimoga and Uttar Kannada districts.
As many as 66 constituencies go to polls in the second phase.
BSP accuses Congress, BJP of bribing voters
BANGALORE: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate from the Chickpet Assembly Constituency, L.R. Ananth, on Wednesday urged the Election Commission to ensure free and fair elections in the constituency as the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates were allegedly bribing voters by doling out goodies. Mr. Ananth told presspersons that Congress candidate R.V. Devaraj and Hemachandra Sagar of the BJP were arranging free breakfast, lunch and dinner for residents of all the slums in the constituency. Besides, the two candidates were distributing household appliances such as colour television sets and refrigerators to woo the voters, he alleged.
EC discusses steps for second phase
BANGALORE: The Election Commission on Wednesday held meeting with leaders of all political parties and the election officials to take stock of the arrangements for the second phase of elections slated for May 16.
Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami and Election Commissioners S. Y Quraishi and Navin Chawla discussed preparations made to hold elections in Koppal, Raichur, Davangere, Chitradurga and Bellary districts. State Chief Electoral Officer M. N. Vidyashankar, one general and expenditure observer from each district, Regional Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners, and top police officials attended the meeting. The CEC and Commissioners discussed issues pertained to enforcement of model code of conduct.
BSP to ‘act’ against ‘corrupt’ practices
|Authorities concerned urged to be more vigilant|
Violation brought to the notice of authorities
BSP workers keeping an eye on all contestants
Belgaum: The Belgaum district unit of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has threatened to take candidates indulging in corrupt practices head-on even as it urged the district administration and the election observers to be more vigilant and effectively enforce the Model Code of Conduct.
Talking to presspersons here on Wednesday, BSP leader Shankar Munavalli alleged that though the BSP workers had brought to the notice of the district administration and the election observers the distribution of liquor, saris and money in Gokak, Raibag, Athani, Soudatti-Yallamma, Arabhavi and a few other Assembly segments in the district, neither the district administration nor the election observers had responded. The only assurance they gave was that they would look into the matter, he said.
He said the BSP workers were vigilant and keeping an eye on all the contestants and leaders of political parties. If the district administration failed to control corrupt electoral practices, the BSP workers would “act”, which, he feared, could result in confrontation. However, the BSP was not for confrontation with any of the contestants or political parties. It only wanted to ensure free and fair polling in all the constituencies.
Mr. Munavalli announced that the BSP national President and Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati, would be campaigning for the party candidates in the district.
She will address a rally at the district stadium on May 15.
BIDAR: The police held a flag march in Bidar city on Wednesday in view of the Assembly elections. The march started at Mangalpet and passed through Police Chowk, Basaveshwara Circle, Naya Kaman, Shah Gunj, Fort Road, Gawan Chowk, Chowbara and Fatehdarwaz before culminating at the police parade grounds. Platoons of the Central Industrial Security Force, Karnataka State Reserve Police, District Armed Reserve Force and civil Police participated in the march.
HUBLI: The Hubli Dharwad Municipal Corporation will place a copy of the voter list in all the polling booths in the twin cities on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to help voters verify their names, a release said. — Staff Correspondent
187 candidates in the fray
DHARWAD: As many as 187 candidates remain in the fray for the 17 Assembly constituencies in the three districts of Haveri, Gadag and Dharwad after the deadline for withdrawal of nomination papers ended on Wednesday.
Polling for these constituencies will be held on May 22.
As many as 40 nominations were withdrawn in Dharwad district on the final day for withdrawal of nomination papers. With the withdrawal of papers concluding, there are 83 candidates left in the fray for the seven Assembly constituencies in the district. Dharwad constituency has the highest number of candidates in the district with 14 candidates. It is followed by Kundagol constituency with 13, Kalghatagi and Hubli-Dharwad Central 12 each, Hubli-Dharwad West and Navalgund 11 each, and Hubli-Dharwad East (Scheduled Castes) 10.
It’s been a relatively noiseless election campaign here
|Some people hail curbs, others feel it will hit prospects of candidates|
MANGALORE: Thanks to the restrictions imposed by the Election Commission on the manner in which parties and candidates can go about canvassing, the run-up to the Assembly elections has relatively been noiseless. Barring a few sound bytes by politicians during the campaign trail, the general atmosphere belies the fact that it is election time.
While welcoming the clampdown, A.M. Narahari, a teacher, said it could also restrict the accessibility of parties to potential voters. “Not everybody reads newspapers or watches television,” he said.
Mr. Narahari said the commission could have been flexible regarding the use of banners. While the idea is to reduce spending and creating a level-playing field for all candidates and was welcome, it should also take into consideration the pluralistic nature of Indian society. An interior designer at Mallikatte, Sujay Lobo, said the run-up to the elections was much better given that the decibel levels were lower and the streets and walls looked clean. “People should chose their leaders based on their ability to respond to the needs of the common man. It should not be based on an individual’s ability to spend,” he said. Till now, parties were relying on publicity gimmicks to reach out to voters, he added. However, the absence of “election fever” has confused Honnayya Moolya, a farmer in Shibaroor. He is still not sure when the elections will be held. However, a senior police official, who did not wish to be named, said that the clampdown could adversely affect the prospects of independents and lesser known candidates. “While established candidates and those from leading political parties are known to voters, this may not be the case with those testing the political waters for the first time,” he said.
6,041 names added to voters’ list
MANGALORE: The names of 6,401 people have been added to the voters’list in Dakshina Kannada following its revision till April 29. That was also the last date for filing of nominations in districts going to the polls on May 16.
The total number of voters in the district is now 13,33,094, including 6,58,287 men and 6,74,807 women. Deputy Commissioner M. Maheshwar Rao told presspersons here on Tuesday that 49 candidates were in the fray from eight constituencies in the district. They included nine candidates in Mangalore, seven in Mangalore City South, six each in Bantwal, Puttur, Moodbidri, and Mangalore City North, five in Belthangady, and four in Sullia. The BJP, Congress and BSP are the only parties to have fielded candidates in these constituencies.
Mr. Rao said electoral photo identity cards (EPIC) had been provided to 10,61,455of the 13,33,094 voters. People who had shifted to another constituency could still vote using the card issued to them earlier. Voters who were yet to obtain an EPIC or who had lost the card could still vote by producing any of the 19 documents cleared by the Election Commission, Mr. Rao said. Candidates contesting the elections had been barred from appointing persons with criminal background as their polling booth agents.
Regarding electronic voting machines (EVMs) to be used in the elections, Mr. Rao said they had been randomly mixed and handed over to the election officers concerned.
The district administration had identified Canara College and Canara Pre-University College on M.G. Road as the election counting centre, he said. Stating that the commission had cleared the institution for the purpose, Mr. Rao said the EVMs and other election-related material would be stored at the venue from May 16 to May 25.
In the dock for poll code violation!
MYSORE: With the imposition of restrictions on using publicity materials for campaigning, political parties here have started adopting novel methods to woo voters.
Cows, with poll messages painted on them, were let loose on the streets on Tuesday. But this novel method of campaigning drew the attention of election observers.
Since the case amounts to violation of Election Commission guidelines, staff of the Mysore City Corporation (MCC) and the police, were sent around the city on Wednesday to “seize” the animals and take them to the MCC’s shelter for stray cattle behind Sahakara Bhavan on Chamaraja Double Road. However, they could manage to seize only one cow. It is not known whether the animal is owned by someone or not. Search is on for the rest of the cows that were used for campaigning.
Congress, JD(S) workers clash near Nagamangala
|Cheluvarayaswamy’s supporters accused of attacking Suresh|
MYSORE: Supporters of Janata Dal (S) candidate for Nagamangala N. Cheluvarayaswamy and Congress candidate K. Suresh Gowda reportedly clashed at Ichalagatta village in Nagamangala taluk of Mandya district on Wednesday.
Mr. Suresh Gowda, who had gone to the village for campaigning with his followers, accused the former Transport Minister’s supporters of assaulting him and got himself admitted in the Mandya General Hospital.
According to police sources, an argument broke out between the supporters of Mr. Cheluvarayaswamy and Mr. Suresh Gowda at Ichalaghatta, the native of Mr. Cheluvarayaswamy. Mr. Suresh Gowda was campaigning there. When the supporters almost came to blows, Mr. Suresh Gowda tried to intervene but was pushed aside in the melee. The police said Mr. Cheluvayaraswamy’s supporters stated that they did not assault Mr. Suresh Gowda, but Congress workers had filed a complaint against 24 people accusing them of attacking their candidate and disrupting campaigning.
The former Transport Minister’s supporters have filed a counter complaint against Mr. Suresh Gowda and his brother Ramesh accusing them of distributing money among the voters there. The Nagamangala rural police have registered both the complaints.
Reports said that Mr. Suresh Gowda, who got himself admitted in the hospital, apparently went to Jawalapura to address a party meeting.
The police have tightened security at Ichalaghatta and the native village of Mr. Suresh Gowda. Additional Superintendent of Police Krishnam Raju told The Hindu that the situation in the constituency was peaceful.
Last-minute efforts to woo voters as campaigning ends today
|Elaborate arrangements made for polling in Mysore district|
11,000 government staff for poll duty
EC’s directive to political leaders invoked
MYSORE: Campaigning for the first phase of Assembly elections slated for May 10 will end at 5 p.m. on Thursday.
The authorities have fine-tuned their arrangements and roped in 11,000 government employees for poll duty on Saturday and 2,140 electronic voting machines are in place. Security has been tightened across the district by deploying 20 companies of paramilitary forces apart from police personnel from the State.
The district election officer, P. Manivannan, said that in addition to 2,140 EVMs, there were 331 reserve EVMs apart from 180 additional machines used for demonstrations. Constituency-wise, 166 EVMs had been distributed to Periyapatana, 204 to K.R. Nagar, 191 to Hunsur, 186 to H.D. Kote, 173 to Nanjangud, 169 to Chamundeshwari, 177 EVMs to Krishnaraja, 170 each to Chamaraja and Narasimharaja, 178 to Varuna and 181 EVMs to T. Narsipura constituencies.
Mr. Manivannan said that the Election Commission’s directive to political leaders, barring the locals, to leave Mysore, had been invoked.
Meanwhile, the candidates made last-minute efforts to cover their constituencies through door-to-door canvassing.
There was a flurry of political activity in the region during the last few days as political heavy weights, including Union Minister for Tourism Ambika Soni, the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L.K. Advani, Union Minister for Science, Technology and Ocean Development Kapil Sibal, the former Chief Minister S.M. Krishna, visited the city. While a few of them participated in road shows, others held rallies and campaigned for their respective political parties.
‘Congress indulging in unfair poll practices’
SHIMOGA: District unit convener of the Dalit Sangharsh Samiti M. Gurumurthy, who is contesting the Assembly election as the Bahujan Samaj Party candidate from Shimoga Rural (reserved) constituency, on Tuesday alleged that the Congress, after losing confidence to face the challenge, was indulging in unfair poll practices against him.
Addressing a press conference here, he said that the Holehonnur (reserved) constituency (which has been done away with in the delimitation exercise and Shimoga Rural constituency carved out in its place) was neglected in the last 35 years when it was represented in the Assembly either by Karianna of the Congress or G. Basavannappa of the Janata Dal (Secular) as they failed to ensure its development.
He said that the lack of infrastructure and facilities such as drinking water, roads, schools and electricity made Holehonnur one of the most backward constituencies in the State.
Mr. Gurumurthy said that he was involved in a straight fight with Mr. Karianna.
The others in the fray are K.G. Kumaraswamy of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Sharada Purya Naik of the Janata Dal (S) and Shantaveer Naik of the Samajwadi Party.
He said that his fight espousing the cause of the Dalits and other neglected sections in the area was helpful to him in understanding their pathetic socio-economic conditions. He said that the State unit president of the BSP, Marasandra Muniappa, and the State unit general secretary of the party, P.G.R. Sindhia, would campaign in the constituency.