EC Tells Centre to Stop WhatsApp Promo

NEW DELHI: The Election Commission on Thursday directed the Centre to stop “WhatsApp messages” promoting the Centre’s “Viksit Bharat” campaign as it violates the Model Code of Conduct.

In a letter addressed to the secretary of the electronics and information technology ministry, the EC said though the poll body had sent a letter on March 15, before the MCC came into force, these messages are still being circulated. The EC added it had got complaints from various quarters that such messages are still being delivered on citizens’ phones.
“Since the MCC is now in force, you are directed to ensure forthwith that no further delivery of WhatsApp messages take place during the MCC period. A compliance report in this regard may be sent immediately,” the EC letter said.
The Congress, after succeeding in stopping the BJP government’s “Viksit Bharat” campaign messages, on Thursday met EC officials against the BJP’s political advertisements. Urging the EC to get the BJP’s “false advertisements” invoking the 2G allocation issue removed, the Congress said the BJP was “pursuing a decade-old narrative that has been thoroughly discredited through a comprehensive judicial process.”
The second complaint is against the “Modi Parivar” ads. The Congress has alleged that official resources are being used in “what is essentially a thinly veiled campaign advertisement”. “Furthermore, the brazen use of the armed forces violates multiple directives of the EC. The fact that the I&B ministry is being compelled to produce and broadcast the same also needs to be addressed,” the EC said.
The Congress’ third complaint is against “an unsolicited letter being circulated on the social media purportedly from the Prime Minister himself”. This complaint seeks an inquiry into how the official letterhead of the PMO can be used for what is obvious campaigning material, the Congress said, seeking an inquiry into the group circulating the same and the takedown of the material along with other appropriate action.
The Congress has also raised objections to the BJP’s advertisements on the Delhi Metro with the tagline #ModikiGuarantee. It also sought the removal of all images of the Prime Minister from government bodies, offices, petrol pumps for the duration of the elections as it violates multiple safeguards in election law.
The EC has, meanwhile, issued transfer orders for non-cadre officers posted at leadership positions as district magistrate and superintendent of police in four states — Gujarat, Punjab, Odisha and West Bengal. The DM and SP posts are cadre posts for IAS and IPS officers. The decision was taken after the commission convened a meeting chaired by chief election commissioner Rajiv Kumar along with election commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu.
The officers to be transferred are: Gujarat — SP of Chhota Udaipur and Ahmedabad Rural districts; Punjab — SSP of Pathankot, Fazilka, Jalandhar Rural and Malerkotla districts; Odisha — DM of Dhenkanal and SPs of Deogarh and Cuttack Rural districts; West Bengal — DM of Purba Medinipur, Jhargram, Purba Bardhaman and Birbhum districts.
Also, the EC has directed the transfer of SSP Bathinda in Punjab and SP Sonitpur in Assam in view of their kinship or familial association with elected political representatives. The officials in these two districts have been transferred as a pre-emptive measure to dispel any apprehensions of the administration being biased or perceived to be compromised.
All state governments have been instructed to promptly transfer non-cadre officers from their current role as DM and SP/SSP with immediate effect, and submit a compliance report to the commission.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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