EC unhappy over police 'inaction' against liquor movement

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Bangalore, Apr 29 (UNI) The Election Commission (EC) today expressed its displeasure over the manner in which police are handling the movement of liquor in Karnataka, where the Model Code of Conduct is in force for the three phase Assembly elections in May.

Talking to newspersons here after holding a review meeting with District Electoral Officers and top police officials of the 11 districts that go to the polls on May 10, Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswamy said they had received reports on ''inaction'' by the police in preventing hoarding of liquor and election materials.

He said strict instructions were issued to the police officials to act in a better manner as far as the preventive measures against illegal stashing of liquor and poll materials were concerned.

Mr Gopalaswamy said political parties could hoist their flags and put up banners during public meetings, but should remove them after such meetings. The propaganda vehicles, campaigning through public address system, could also carry party banners and flags and it did not amount to violation of the Code, he clarified.

He said the representatives of political parties, who met him today, also sought clarification on the issue of sending their campaign materials from the state capital to other districts in the state. ''It can be done with prior permission from the CEO and the District Electoral Officers concerned, provided they have valid documents. The EC has, however, banned the transport of T-Shirts and caps with any party's symbol,'' he added.

Mr Gopalaswamy also clarified that there was no restriction on the members of Self-Help Groups (SHG) participating in political activities as they come under the NGOs. However, the 'Anganwadi' workers were banned from taking part in such activities, he added.

In all the polling stations in four Assembly seats, where the number of contestants exceeded 16, the EC would use two Electronic Voting Machines.

Replying to questions, Mr Gopalaswamy clarified that there was no ban on labour unions taking out procession on May one, provided they get prior permission.

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