The Hindu (Mumbai)

Odisha political parties urge ECI to ensure neutrality of govt. machinery during polls

- Satyasunda­r Barik

Political parties in Odisha have urged the Election Commission of India (ECI) to ensure neutrality of government machinery during upcoming general and Assembly elections in the State.

“Many parties stated the administra­tion is perceived to be nonneutral. They favour the party in power. Therefore, level playing field should be establishe­d and the administra­tion should become totally aligned to this principle,” said Rajiv Kumar, Chief Election Commission­er, addressing a press conference here on Saturday.

“There were also apprehensi­ons that during elections facilities and entitlemen­ts, which are given to political parties, including permission for ground and use of loudspeake­r, are given instantly to certain political party. The entitlemen­ts, political parties asked for, should be given equally,” Mr. Kumar said.

“During the last election, the administra­tion was not alert to check violence. Violence did happen. Government vehicles and ambulances are used for transporti­ng cash and government accommodat­ions are misused for political purposes. Political parties urged to take steps to stop this,” he said.

Political parties also requested to enhance security around warehouses by including central police forces. Agents should be provided detail account of votes polled in a polling station in 17C form after voting is over.

Moreover, there are many candidates and political parties who control newspapers and news channels and favourable news contents are created during elections. The ECI was urged to bring those content under paid news category.

The Opposition parties drew attention of the ECI that government advertisem­ents were carrying party symbol of particular party and demanded it must be checked.

Level playing field should be establishe­d and the administra­tion should become totally aligned to this principle.

Chief Election Commission­er

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