Bihar polls: EC wants a copy of election manifestos

 Days before the first phase of Bihar polls, the Election Commission has reminded political parties of the guidelines to be followed while drafting election manifestos and have also asked them to provide it with a copy of the document soon after it has been released.

New Delhi: Days before the first phase of Bihar polls, the Election Commission has reminded political parties of the guidelines to be followed while drafting election manifestos and have also asked them to provide it with a copy of the document soon after it has been released.

"The political party or candidate shall submit a copy of election manifesto to the Election Commission of India/Office of the Chief Electoral Officer after the date of issue of election manifesto," the Commission said.

The 'supplementary press note' of the EC issued on Friday ahead of Bihar elections is a reminder of a similar letter issued to all recognised national and state political parties by it in April.

The letter had said the "Commission has desired that, whenever a political party releases its manifesto for whichever election conducted by the Commission, a hard copy of the same along with a soft copy may be sent to the Commission for its record."

The Commission, however, gave no reasons as to why it requires a copy of the manifesto. But some EC officials said as allegations that manifesto is aimed at influencing voters often fly thick during elections, it is better to have a copy for quick reference.

The EC statement reminded political parties that it had issued guidelines for election manifestos following a July, 2013 Supreme Court order on the issue.

The apex court (in the S Subramaniam Balaji Vs Govt of Tamil Nadu and Others) has directed the Election Commission to frame guidelines with regard to the contents of election manifestos in consultation with all recognised political parties.

During consultations, while some political parties had supported the issuance of such guidelines, others were of the view that it is their right and duty towards voters to make such offers and promises in manifestos in a healthy democratic polity.

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