iconimg Wednesday, September 02, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Bhopal, July 19, 2013
Representatives of political parties have demanded that religious leaders who campaign for a particular party should not be allowed to do so in the run-up to the elections. During a meeting with director general of Election Commission of India ( ECI), PK Das, who was in Bhopal on Thursday, CPI’s Shailendra Kumar Shaili urged that religious leaders that support political parties should not be allowed to campaign for them.

He was supported by his counterpart from the Congress, JP Dhanopiya, who claimed that religious leaders should give up their status before entering politics.

However, BJP representative Shantilal Lodha did not support this demand.

In reply, the DG, ECI asked the political parties to give their suggestions in writing so that the matter could be looked into.

In another issue, Shaili demanded that liquor shops which are kept closed for 48 hours during elections should, instead, be closed for longer period.

This demand also did not find resonance among other political parties.

Dhanopiya of the Congress said unless the ECI takes complaints pertaining to violation of model code of conduct seriously, the probability of ensuring free and fair elections seems remote.

“We often complain about violation of model code of conduct but have never heard of any serious action against whom the complaint is made. In fact, the complaint is forgotten after the elections get over,” he added.