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Parties not to hold political activity in areas adjoining bypoll-going constituencies: EC

Parties not to hold political activity in areas adjoining bypoll-going constituencies: EC

New Delhi: Against the backdrop of "certain political parties" conducting electioneering in areas adjoining districts and constituencies where by-elections are being held, the Election Commission on Thursday asked parties not to hold any political activity directly related to the by-polls in areas adjoining the poll-going districts or constituencies.

The commission said its existing instructions, regarding enforcement of the Model Code of Conduct during by-elections to parliamentary and assembly seats, provide that the applicability of the poll code will be to the district concerned, comprising the poll-going constituency.

"It has been brought to the notice of the commission that certain political parties/candidates are organising electioneering activities in the areas adjoining the district/constituency where the by-election is being conducted, the poll panel said. In this regard all political parties/candidates are advised not to organise any political activities directly related to the by-elections even in the areas adjoining the district/constituency where the by-elections are being held," the Election Commission (EC) warned.

District election officers concerned will ensure that the model code instructions and COVID-19 guidelines relating to the norms of social distancing are followed in districts adjoining the poll-going district and constituency, it noted.

In a separate statement, the EC said that in case, the constituency is comprised in a state capital or metropolitan city or municipal corporation, then model code instructions would be applicable in the area of the constituency concerned only.

In all other cases, instructions will be enforced in the entire district covering the constituency going for by-election.

"The spirit of these instructions has been that developmental and administrative works should continue without the implications of the model code and the campaigning for the by-election should be restricted in the constituency concerned only," the EC said. There exists a situation that political activities akin to ongoing by-elections may be held outside the parliamentary or assembly seat but within the district, it observed.

"Such activities will be in contravention to the spirit of the aforesaid instructions. Thus, it is further clarified that if any electioneering activities connected to ongoing by-election are organised anywhere within the district, then all instructions related to enforcement of the model code, Covid guidelines and expenditure monitoring shall apply as done in case of political activities. The district election officer concerned shall exercise all necessary action in such cases and ensure strict compliance," the EC said.

Bypolls to three Lok Sabha seats and 30 assembly constituencies spread across various states will be held on October 30. The counting of votes will take place on November 2.

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