Patna: A high-level team of the Election Commission of India, comprising two Election Commissioners H S Brahma and Nasim Zaidi and deputy election commissioner Alok Shukla, reached here on Friday afternoon and met the representatives of different political parties at the A N Sinha Institute of Social Sciences to listen to their grievances and receive their memorandums in this regard.
Most of the complaints were lodged by the opposition parties. These included charges of misuse of official power by a few government officials, including two DMs and a police official, to help the JD(U) in the election process. According to sources, the EC team met the representatives of various political parties separately and received their memorandums.
Most of the parties expressed their reservations against the strictness of district electoral officers with regard to observing the model code of conduct.
“The EC team said the political parties are allowed to put up their banners, posters and slogans within the limitations of model code of conduct. Invoking model code of conduct does not mean the suspension of civil rights. Another important point was to ensure safety and security in the Maoist-hit districts for free, fair and participatory poll,” a source said.
Rajiv Pratap Rudy, BJP general secretary, said, “We have demanded the removal of district election officer-cum district magistrates of Purnia and Supaul, Manish Kumar Verma and Laxmi Prasad Chauhan, respectively. The DSP (headquarters) of Bhojpur should also be removed. These three officers cannot conduct a free and fair poll. They are working for the ruling party.”
Rajiv Ranjan Singh Lallan, sitting JD (U) MP from Munger, who came to submit the party’s memorandum said, “The way the JD (U) members were campaigning following the enforcement of model code of conduct is exemplary. People of Bihar will not trust those parties who question the conduct of government officials, who are all ECI’s employees currently. We requested in our memorandum that mahadalits and women should be given protection on the day of polling.”
RJD representatives submitted a four-point memorandum to the EC team. “The ‘Har Har Modi’ slogan of the BJP hurts the sentiment of the followers of Lord Shiva. A human being cannot be synonymous to god. We requested the EC to look into the newspaper coverage of the provocative anti-secularism speech of Narendra Modi during his recent visit to Bihar,” the RJD memorandum said.
The memorandums of other political parties sought permission from the SDOs to hold meetings at the local levels and to ensure safety and security to women voters on the day of polling. A few parties also raised questions about the functioning of EVMs.