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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

EC asks Badal to refrain from making political speech on I-day

PTI  Chandigarh, August 09, 2014
First Published: 20:21 IST(9/8/2014) | Last Updated: 20:23 IST(9/8/2014)

The Election Commission on Friday asked the Punjab chief minister and his ministers to refrain from making political speeches during the I-day celebrations in view of the by-polls in the state.

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"The commission has no objection to chief minister/ ministers in the state to do the honours in the independence day function at various locations subject to the condition that in their speeches they should confine themselves to extolling the achievements of martyrs in securing freedom of the country, glorification of the Indian State and so on.

Under no circumstances, these should become a platform for political campaign," state chief electoral officer VK Singh said in an advisory issued here.

Senior Congress leader Capt Amarinder Singh yesterday took exception to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his Deputy Sukhbir Badal's plan to unfurl the tricolour on August 15 at Patiala and Bathinda, where by-elections are due on August 21.

Amarinder had sought the attention of the EC, saying this amounted to serious violation of the electoral code of conduct.

Punjab CEO said the chief minister and ministers, who belong to political parties and alliance, may be candidates for the assembly by-elections.

He said that the commission, purely in the interest of ensuring a level playing field, directed that no minister or any other political functionary in the state/ex-MPs shall "do the honours" at any I-Day function at any location within their home district or constituency or from where he or she is a contesting candidate or intends to contest.

The chief minister may however do so from the state headquarters as per long standing conventions, he said.

The Commission further said it has also no objection to the cultural functions organised in connection with the I-Day celebrations and being attended by the chief minister, ministers and other political functionaries.

It, however, advised to take utmost care to ensure that no political speeches highlighting the achievements of party in power should be made on the occasion.

The commission also directed that investiture ceremonies at the state level and distribution of 'Tamra Patras' to freedom fighters and such other functions should be done according to existing conventions.

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