The Election Commission has decided to videograph the wedding of Tej Narayan Pandey alias Pawan Pandey,the Samajwadi Party candidate from Ayodhya,in order to prevent the misuse of the ceremony to get political mileage during Uttar Pradesh elections. However,the EC has not said anything about the number of guests Pandey can entertain.
Pandey,who will get married on January 18,had cut short his list of guests from around 25,000 to100,lest the EC decides to put his expenditure on marriage under election expenditure,as per the model code of conduct.
Nephew of Jay Shankar Pandey,a Mulayam Singh Yadav loyalist and two-term MLA,this is Pandey’s electoral debut.
The EC has said that they will keep a eye on marriages and community halls as these have been used during past elections for distribution of gifts or for serving food by candidates in order to “influence voters on the eve of polls”.
Keeping this mind,Pandey had written to Faizabad District Magistrate M P Agarwal,who is also the District Electoral Officer (DEO),seeking permission for marriage as well as guidance to avoid complications.
Agarwal had sent the letter to the state’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO),seeking his instructions. Mrityunjay Narayan,Additional CEO,said that since marriage is a social function,it doesn’t require EC’s permission. However,the function will be monitored from the point of view of expenditure so that in the garb of a wedding ceremony,the candidate does not try to influence voters. “The outcome of this monitoring cannot be decided beforehand and we will draw a conclusion only after the ceremony,” he said.
Agarwal said,”I have got instructions to video-record the wedding and keep an eye on the function. However,we are no one to decide the number of guests and grant permission for the function.”