The scheme to provide free rail travel to girl students announced by Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee in this year's Rail budget seems to have run into trouble for the time being with Chief Election Commission of India ordering an enquiry into the scheme.
A report have been sought from the Railway Board and Raja Sabha Secretariate about the scheme announced by the Railway Minister and a decision on the scheme would be taken soon after getting the report, Chief Election Commissioner YS Quraishi told reporters here today.
Quraishi was answering reporters query on CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury's comment that CEC did not apply same yardstick on Railway Minister's new scheme while banning the implementation of 'rice for Rs.two per kg' scheme of CPI-M led LDF government in Kerala.
The commission ordered an qnuiry based on media reports of Yechury's comments. 'We will not show any discrimination to any states', he said. However, he said CEC would not allow any programmes that meant to influence voters.
On the CEC' stand on 'rice for Rs.Two per kg', he said as the matter was before Kerala high court, CEC would inform the court about its position.
Quraishi who along with Election Commissioner V S Sampath and H S Brahma held meetings with top state government and police officials on the preparations for the April 13 assembly polls, said that there would be stirct monitoring of expenditure of each candidates.
As part of the new expenditure guidelines, all candidates have to open a bank account for election expenditure, he said. Banks have been instructed to facilitate the opening of acounts by candidates, he said. CEC's expenditure observers also would closely watch the expendiutres of each candidates.
Also instructions had been given to ensure that no violation of Model Code of Conduct take place in any of the five states going to polls, he said.
Adequate number of central forces would be deployed for the smooth conudct of polls.
To check malpractices and irregularities cameras would be installed in booths. For the first time in Kerala, CEC has decided to have web-casting from some pllling stations, he said. This would be in addition to the cameras installed at polling stations and video photographing of votings in booths, he said.
The government advertisemnts about new schemes on Television channels would not be allowed henceforth as it came under MCC, he said.
Similarly, government hoardings with pictures of sitting MLA's put up on road sides referring to new works had been asked to be removed, he said.
Referring to the total number of voters in Kerala, he said the state has a total number of 2,29,47,469 voters in which 1,19,55,631 are women voters. Kerala has more female voters than male.
On a question of NRI's voting right, he said so far 7120 NRIs have registerd with the Commission in Kerala. 'They can vote at the polling stations where they are registered. They have to be physically present at the time of voting. No e-voting or postal voting is allowed to them', Quraishi clarified.
On a question whether Kerala Congress (B) leader R Balakrishna Pilli, who is serving one year jail term in a graft case could contest the polls, Quraishi said any person whose name was in the electoral roll could contest.
But, whether the guidelines of disqualification mentioned in the People's Representative Act might apply in the specific case could be known only after verifying the facts, he said.
State Chief Electoral Officer Nalini Netto was also present at the press conference.