Manifesto cannot be publicised where polls are being held: CEC

Election Commission on Monday made it clear that there is no bar on a party to release its manifesto on a poll day, but it cannot be publicised or telecast in areas where elections are being held.

“There is no such bar. Election manifesto can be released any time,” Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath told a news conference in Kolkata.

He was asked whether it was correct for BJP to release its manifesto on a poll day as the first of the nine-phase Lok Sabha elections in the country begins tomorrow.

“The places where elections are being held, it cannot be publicised or telecast there,” said Sampath, who came here to review the poll preparation in West Bengal along with the other two election commissioners.

BJP is scheduled to release its manifesto on Monday when the first of the nine phases is held in six constituencies in the two northeastern states of Assam and Tripura.

Asked about allegations that the RSS was campaigning on religious lines in riot-torn Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, he said, “If it is so, it is a clear case of violation of the Model Code of Conduct. We will look into it.”

Speaking on the EC’s full bench meeting with senior police and administrative officials of West Bengal, the CEC said they have been asked to work impartially and neutrally to ensure a free, fair and peaceful election.

“Steps will be taken immediately if any complaint is proved against any official,” he said.

Asked against how many officials in West Bengal the EC was mulling action in view of complaints against them, Sampath said, “You will come to know about it within two or three days.”