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EC bans use of cell phone inside polling booths

Written by: Staff
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Kolkata, Apr 13 (UNI) The Election Commission today imposed a blanket ban on the use of mobile phone inside polling booths by all, including the polling officials, during the five-phase West Bengal Assembly election starting from April 17.

Joint Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Nikhil Kumar told newsmen here that as per the EC directive even the Presiding Officer was not allowed to use cell phone inside the booth during the polling hours.

Saying this was aimed at preventing passing out of any information from inside the polling booth to outsiders, Mr Sahana said in case of any emergency, the concerned Presiding Officer would have to come out of the booth to receive any urgent phone call from the Commission.

About the lifting of ban for the use of microphone for election campaigning, the Joint CEO said following the completion of Higher Secondary examination in the state this evening, the candidates and the political parties were now allowed to use mikes between 0600 and 2300 hours till the end of campaigning day.

Incidentally, the Commission through an earlier directive had imposed a complete ban on the use of microphone by any political party or individual for election purposes till 1700 hours today because of the ongoing HS examinations.

About the reported confusion in the timing of counting of votes after the completion of all the five phases of elections in the state, Mr Sahana said the EC through another directive also made it clear that the counting of votes for all 294 constituencies would simultaneously begin in about 80 odd counting centres in the state at 0800 hours on May eleven, three days after the last phase election in six districts.

About the limitations in hiring cars by the political parties as well as candidates for poll campaigning, the Joint CEO quoting yet another EC directive said while each recognised party was allowed to hire a maximum of 40 vehicles in every district, for the unrecognised but registetred party the number had been fixed at 20 only.

However, the candidates could hire as many vehicles as required for the same purpose though the hiring charges would have to be borne by them only, Mr Sahana clarified.

Mr Sahana, however, refused to comment on the possibility of any disciplinary step against state Transport Minister Subhas Chakraborty for his alleged derogatory comments on the role of the Election Commission.

UNI ABA SJC DB1916

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