The Ghaziabad election officers said as part of keeping a strict vigil on expenses and campaigns, they are keeping an eye on ‘dummy’ candidates, who could covertly undertake publicity campaign for other candidates.
Officials, on the directions of the Election Commission, have constituted various flying squads, static surveillance teams, accounts and videography teams to keep an eye on the routine as well as suspicious activities of candidates during their election campaign.
“We have given instructions to election teams about the candidates. The teams have also been informed about vehicles or publicity campaigns undertaken by the candidates. For instance, if we find publicity material of one candidate in the vehicle of another, the vehicle will be seized and an FIR could also be lodged. The videography is also being done to monitor such activities,” Prem Ranjan Singh, returning office, Loni, said.
Officials said that generally, the ‘dummy’ candidates take permission to use vehicles but these are actually used by other candidates for their campaign, and they are able to manipulate the expenditure ceiling.
Teams will pay special attention to Loni segment where seven candidates have cleared the scrutiny process, including Madan Bhaiya and his wife Geeta Devi. Bhaiya is contesting on a ticket from the Rashtriya Lok Dal while Devi is contesting as an independent candidate.
Officials claim that Bhaiya is fielding his wife as a backup in case his nomination gets rejected. He could not be contacted despite repeated attempts on the landline number provided in the affidavit.
The returning officer said, “She (Devi) can very well contest the elections as a candidate as per norms. But, she cannot campaign for any other candidate. In her rallies, she cannot use the name of her husband as she is a different candidate altogether. Our teams will be informed and will check that norms are adhered to.”
Devi had also contested the 2007 assembly elections as an independent candidate from Khekra in Baghpat, while Bhaiya had contested the seat on an RLD ticket and won. She was the only woman among 18 candidates and had secured 614 votes.
However, her name did not figure in other elections. Bhaiya had contested the 2002 elections as an independent candidate from Khekra and won. He had lost the 1996 elections from Khekra to the BJP candidate.
In another such instance, Dhirendra, alias, Billu Yadav, and his wife Nirmal Yadav have both filed nominations as independent candidates for the Ghaziabad seat. “My husband is into politics and I also want to get an experience of politics. So, I have filed the nomination,” Nirmal said.