Saturday, March 7, 2009

Deepika promotes jagoo India Campaign for election

The Election Commission is likely to engage celebrities and stars from different fields to motivate the electorate in exercising their franchise in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.

“We are exploring the option of engaging celebrities and possibly the commission may take a final decision in this connection. We will see how to go about it,” chief election commissioner N Gopalaswami told a news conference here this on Friday.

Asked if film stars like Amitabh Bachchan will don the role of poll motivator, Mr Gopalaswami said he would not like to commit on their names at the moment. ”But stars this time may be engaged in their new roles for imparting lessons on right to franchise,” remarked the CEC.

CEC along with the election commissioners Navin Chawla and S Y Quraishi arrived here on Friday on a two-day visit to review the poll preparedness of the state which will go through a four-phase polling.

All through the day, EC met political representatives of all hues besides holding meeting with the officials of 2 divisions.

The CEC and election commissioner Navin Chawla arrived here separately on two different planes from raising speculation about their growing rift. “Not much should be read into it. If we came here on two different flights, you got to blame the UP government for this . In any case, we in the election commission are duty-bound to conduct free and peaceful polls. There could no difference to that,“ clarified Mr Goplaswami. Playing down the issue, Mr Chawal said this time they will make it sure that they boarded the same flight.

When asked about BJP’s accusations of partisanship against him, Mr Chawla said that the commission functioned as a body and the fact that, “we are here together should also clear all misgivings about differences in the commission.”

Referring to complaints lodged by political parties related to the recent transfer of officials, the CEC said the commission had sought the list of such officials from the state government. The commission will act if it felt that there was any discrepancy on this count.

Opposition parties complained that a number of IAS and IPS officials of other state cadres had been given postings to manipulate the election process in favour of the ruling party. Besides, a number of other officials were reshuffled just few days before poll dates were announced, the opposition parties complained to EC. “We will ask for the list of such officials to ascertain the truth. We will call for action if we feel so,“ said the CEC. Opposition parties also urged the Commission not to allow the state government to deploy the special auxiliary force for the poll duty.

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