Assam, West Bengal polls: EC issues fresh orders on prior clearance of advertisements

The Election Commission on Saturday directed that no newspaper advertisement will be published on April 10 and 11 in poll-bound Assam and West Bengal without prior clearance, a move which comes against the backdrop of controversial advertisements issued by BJP during Bihar elections.

PTI| Updated: Apr 09, 2016, 15:20 PM IST

New Delhi: The Election Commission on Saturday directed that no newspaper advertisement will be published on April 10 and 11 in poll-bound Assam and West Bengal without prior clearance, a move which comes against the backdrop of controversial advertisements issued by BJP during Bihar elections.

The second phase of election in Assam and second part of phase one poll in West Bengal will be held on April 11.

 

The Commission had issued similar directions ahead of phase one of polls in the two states last week.

In a fresh direction issued to the Chief Electoral Officers of Assam and West Bengal, the Commission said that instances of "advertisements of offending and misleading nature" have been brought to its notice in the past.

 

"Such advertisements in the last stage of election vitiates the election. The affected candidates and parties will not have any opportunity of providing clarification or rebuttal in such cases," it said.

The poll watchdog said to ensure that no such instance is repeated and no untoward incident takes place because of any "inflammatory, misleading or hate advertisements", no political party, candidate, organisation or person will bring out advertisements in the print media on April 10 and 11.

Using it powers under Article 324 of the Constitution (superintendence over conduct of elections), it said the advertisements can be published only if they are pre-certified by Media Certification and Monitoring Committees working at district and state level.

The newspapers, the Commission directed, should also be informed against bringing out advertisements which have not been cleared by the committee.

During Bihar polls, the Commission had clamped a ban on publication of two controversial advertisements printed by BJP in that state.

One of the advertisements alleged that RJD supremo Lalu Prasad and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar are "snatching the plate of dalits" by planning to transfer the quota meant for dalits and EBCs to minorities.

Another advertisement dealt with 'vote ki kheti' or vote-bank politics. It claimed that RJD, JDU and Congress leaders are "giving sanctuary" to terrorists to appease a particular community for votes.