LS polls: Schedule announced for first phase in state

Notification for the first phase of elections in the four districts of north Bengal and the state Assembly bypoll at two constituencies was announced on Wednesday.

The last date for filing nomination for Phase I is March 26 and withdrawal is allowed till March 29 while polling will be held on April 17. Dates for the bypolls are the same.

Officials of the State Election Commission (SEC) said they are keeping a strict eye on online advertisements and had already alerted authorities. Amitjyoti Bhattacharya, assistant chief electoral officer (CEO) said the ECI had issued a notification against pre-certified advertisements on the net.

“The EC has written to the associate vice-president of Internet And Mobile Association of India asking them not to accept any political advertisements on the internet or internet-based media without pre-certification,” he said.
The internet sites should also inform the commission regarding the expenditure incurred by political parties or candidates on poll advertisements when requested for.

The letter, further states that the internet-based media would do an active scrutiny to ensure that the content displayed by them is not unlawful, malicious or in violation with the model code of conduct.  “In case of any unlawful content is brought to the notice of the election machinery and the internet-based media, it will be removed immediately,” said Amit Roychowdhury, officer on special duty. He further said  posts on social networking sites would not be considered as advertisements.

The CEO also met with the DMs and SPs via video conference for an internal review.  “There were discussions over various issues including law and order, expenditure and preventive actions,” said Saibal Barman, joint chief electoral officer. “All the preventive steps have been taken and so far, everything was in rhythm,” he said.