Panaji: The Election Commission has declined
permission for use of a government college ground near here as
the venue for a Congress rally to be addressed by Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh.
Singh is scheduled to address the public meeting on
February 29 for the March 3 Goa Assembly polls.
The Congress had selected Sankhalim College ground near
here for the rally.
Joint Chief Electoral Officer Narayan Navti today said
properties of educational institutes, whether government,
private, aided or unaided, cannot be used for campaigning.
"We have told the Director of Higher Education that they
should not allow their ground at Sankhalim College to be
used for political meetings," he said.
Opposition BJP and its student wing ABVP had lodged a
formal protest with the Election Commission over the PM`s
public meeting at the ground.
Navti said since classes at the college are going on, the
proposed meeting can affect the studies of the students.
If the ruling Congress goes ahead with the meeting,
action will be taken as per the law, he warned.
Meanwhile, a senior Congress leader said, "We may find
another venue but there is no question of cancelling the Prime
In Delhi a senior EC official said that the poll
panel was re-examining its decision after the state Congress
approached it saying there was no other big ground in Goa to
host the rally to be addressed by the PM.
"After Goa Congress asked the Election authorities in the
state to reconsider its decision, the CEO has referred the
matter to EC in Delhi. We are examining the matter," the
official said, adding a decision would be taken soon.