Election dates out,parties gear up for next course of action

With the Lok Sabha election schedule having been announced on Monday,political parties have geared up to begin active campaigning.

Written by Khushboo Sandhu | Chandigarh | Published:March 3, 2009 4:19 am

With the Lok Sabha election schedule having been announced on Monday,political parties have geared up to begin active campaigning. The elections to the single Lok Sabha seat in the city will be held on May 13.

While the Congress has secured the Chandigarh seat for two consecutive terms,its vote share had been the highest in the last elections. Union Minister of State for Finance Pawan Kumar Bansal has been the Congress MP from the city since 1999.

In 1999,the Congress received 47 per cent votes as against 45 per cent polled in favour of the BJP. The scenario changed in the 2004 elections as the party received an overwhelming 52 per cent of the votes,while BJP got only 35 per cent.

BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain said the announcement is not only for the date of the election,but is also a “countdown for the NDA government to come into power”.

“We have been campaigning actively and were waiting for the announcement of the election date. Our interactions with the residents will continue and the party cadre is all charged up,” says Jain.

BSP Convenor and candidate from the city,Harmohan Dhawan,says,“Our party has been in the field for quite some time. Since the election dates were announced today,we will be holding a meeting to discuss our future strategy. Interactions with residents will be held on a regular basis.”

Congress leaders,meanwhile,are expected to highlight their achievements and development work. Congress leader Pardeep Chhabra says,“The party has many achievements to highlight to the people. A large number of residents and leaders including the youth have joined the party. They are being informed about the Congress ideology and the work that has been done.”

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP),on the other hand,organised a car rally today as part of its election campaign. The rally started from the party office in Sector 45 and passed through Sectors 20,21,22 and 23 before concluding in Sector 24. Around 75 cars were part of the rally.

President of the city unit of the party Gurbachan Singh named Rajesh Sharma as the general secretary of the party,incharge of Nationalist Student Congress as well as the official spokesperson. The leaders stated that they will not accept an alliance with either the Congress or the BJP and will instead field an independent candidate.

Model code of conduct comes into force
With the Election Commission announcing the dates for the 15th Lok Sabha elections,which will be held in five phases from April 16 to May 13,the model code of conduct has also come into force.

The District Election Officer-cum-Returning Officer R K Rao,convened a meeting today with all assistant returning officers to take stock of the election preparations.

UT Advisor and Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Pradip Mehra is likely to hold a meeting with representatives of the political parties on Tuesday to brief them about the election process and seek cooperation for ensuring the implementation of the code of conduct and holding the elections in a fair and peaceful manner. The political parties will also be briefed about various steps to be taken on their part to abide by the instructions issued by the Election Commission of India,particularly regarding the code of conduct. The code mandates that no party or candidate will indulge in any activity,which may cause tension between different castes and communities. There shall be no appeal by the political parties or candidates that incite communal feelings for securing votes. All political parties are required to avoid all activities,which are defined as ‘corrupt practices’ and offences under the Election Law,such as bribing and intimidation of voters. Writing slogans,displaying posters,erecting cutouts,hoardings,banners and advertisements will be allowed at public places specifically identified and earmarked by the Election department. No defacement in any form will be permitted on government premises. An individual’s land,building,compound wall or premises will not be used for erecting a flag staff,pasting notices,writing slogans without the permission of the owner. Permission will have to be taken in advance by the political parties from the Returning Officer or local police authorities for taking out processions. All critical events during the election process will have to be videographed.

Inauguration of green belt cancelled
The inauguration of the green belt in Sector 47 C and D by Municipal Commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria,scheduled for Tuesday,has also been cancelled due to the imposition of the model code of conduct. Area councillor Jatinder Bhatia said the inauguration will be held after the elections.

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