Govt machinery must not be used in polls: ECI

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Bhopal, Oct 28 (UNI) The Election Commission of India (ECI) has determined limits of activities of ruling parties with a view to ensuring free and fair hustings.

In this connection, the ECI has issued certain directives with an instruction to implement them strictly. The rules will apply equally to ruling parties both at the Centre as well as this poll-bound state, an official release said here yesterday.

As per the instructions issued by the Chief Election Commissioner, ruling parties have been explicitly told to ensure that there is no misuse of government machinery and posts. Ministers must not undertake campaigning during official tours. They can never use official vehicles, aircraft, machinery or employees when electioneering.

Ruling parties have been instructed not to claim sole rights on use of a public place for holding public rallies or on helipads.

These facilities can be used equally by all parties and candidates as per rules. The same principle will apply to use of rest-houses and circuit houses. However, no political party will be able to use these premises for opening their election offices or for electioneering.

Giving advertisement to newspapers or any other media for publicity while incurring government expenditure has also been banned. Similarly, government publicity media cannot be used for highlighting the ruling party's achievements. Ministers and public undertakings' heads will not be able to sanction any grant or make payment from discretionary funds.

It has also been made clear that a central or state minister will not be allowed to enter any polling booth in any capacity other than as a candidate or authorised polling agent, the release added.

UNI AC 1854

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