All parties must get equal chance to access ad space: ECI
Kolkata: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has written to the Bengal Chief Secretary and its CEO (Chief Electoral Officer) to take necessary measures so that all political parties get equal access to advertisement spaces for election related endorsements.
The Commission has reiterated that the state CEO should ensure that no specific political party should monopolise the advertisement space. The direction has been sent not only to Bengal but to other poll-bound states like Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Chennai and Puducherry (union territory).
Senior Principal Secretary of ECI Narendra N Butolia in his letter stated that it had been brought before the Commission's notice that in some places advertisement spaces were being monopolized by some political parties. "If the local law expressly permits or provides for writing of slogans, displaying posters etc or erecting cut outs, hoardings, banners, political advertisement etc in any public place (as against on a government premises) on payment or otherwise, this may be allowed strictly in accordance with the relevant provisions of the law and subject to court orders, if any on this subject. It should be ensured that any such place is not dominated / monopolised by any particular party or candidate.
All parties and candidates should be provided equal opportunity in this regard," the letter reads. The letter further cites that "if there is a specifically earmarked place provided for displaying advertisements in a public place viz billboards, hoardings, etc and if such space is already let out to any agency for further allocation to individual clients, the District Election Officer through the municipal authority concerned, if any, should ensure that all political parties and candidates get equal opportunity to have access to such advertisements space for election related advertisements during the election period."
Sources in the state CEO office said the direction of the Commission has been sent to all DEOs.