Parties on Tuesday asked the state election commission to resolve discrepancies in the nomination process for the upcoming panchayat polls, and demanded that nominations be filed in three phases in line with the polling.Representatives of various parties held a meeting with state election commissioner Ram Lubhaya to discuss the free, fair and peaceful conduct of elections. Panchayat polls will be held in three phases spread over January and February 2015, but the nomination process is scheduled to be completed in a single phase.
Congress representative Sushil Sharma said this would give unequal campaign time to candidates. “Candidates on those seats where elections are being held in the first phase will get less time than those where polls are due in the second or third phase. We raised this issue and all other parties supported us.” Sharma said Lubhaya assured to discuss the matter with officials of departments concerned.
On the education criteria introduced by the government for candidates wishing to contest the panchayat polls, Sharma said the commission was non-committal.
Lubhaya is said to have told the party representatives that this decision is in the domain of government, and the commission’s role is only to ensure free and fair conduct of elections within the constitutional framework.
The top election official expressed hope that all parties and groups would cooperate with commission like they had done in the recent civic body elections. He said awareness about the electoral code of conduct has increased even in remote areas, and people are coming forward and objecting to any violation of the code.
The commission’s secretary Satyaprakash Baswala apprised the leaders about photo electoral rolls, NOTA and other preparations. Another poll official, deputy secretary Ashok Jain, informed them about legalities of the polls. The BJP was represented by Surendra Singh Naruka.
Meanwhile, both the BJP and the Congress in Alwar have started preparations for the elections. On Tuesday, the two parties held separate meetings of their party functionaries in the district.
Mahesh Joshi, former Congress MP from Jaipur and now district observer of Alwar, first addressed the party leaders at a hotel, and urged them to fight panchayat elections in a unified manner. Local BJP leaders and functionaries gathered at another hotel on Tuesday and held a meeting under the leadership of Hem Singh Bhadana, state civil supply minister and in-charge of election in Alwar. He said his party workers had higher morale after winning in the Parliament and urban local body polls.