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‘Politicians, TV channels should exercise restraint’

With just a fortnight to go for the civic polls for 10 municipal corporations, state election commissioner, Neela Satyanarayan, is in the spotlight. From new electronic voting machines to a call centre and helpline for polls, Satyanarayan has brought about voter-friendly changes in the system.
Hindustan Times | By Sayli Udas Mankikar
UPDATED ON FEB 01, 2012 01:16 AM IST

Recently, when you cleared deputy CM Ajit Pawar of code violation charge, MNS chief Raj Thackeray accused you of being biased. What is your reaction?

Political leaders must exercise restraint when they make derogatory remarks against each other or the state election commissioner. The state election commission (SEC) is a constitutional authority and decisions are taken after discussion with the legal team. Thackeray has been given a warning.

What action can you take against such remarks or violations of the code?

It can end up in either a warning or in the worst of cases, a person can be expelled or in case of political parties, the registration can be cancelled.

How many complaints have you received against politicians till date of code of conduct violations?

So far, we have received over 1,000 complaints against politicians for alleged code violations. The complaints are segregated and sent to respective collectors and commissioners who then send a report based on which action is taken.

Have you imposed a gag order on the electronic media?

I have sent a letter to all television channel heads asking them to exercise some restraint while showing allegations made by politicians repeatedly. It was just a request made by us, not a gag order.

What are the changes made in the election process this year?

We have got new EVMs for detailed results and with a Braille code for visually-challenged voters. Special markers, reduction in number of voters in every booth are the other changes made.

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