GAD issues order, calls for strict vigil
JAMMU, Nov 26: A day after State Election Commissioner (SEC) KK Sharma wrote to Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam on complaints about certain Government employees participating in the election campaign for District Development Council (DDC)/Panchayat elections in violation of Model Code of Conduct (MCC), the Union Territory Government impressed upon all Administrative Secretaries, Divisional Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners and HoDs to maintain strict vigil and ensure that no employee displays partiality towards any political party.
In his letter to Subrahmanyam, Sharma said few cases have been received by the Commission wherein Government officials were reported to have participated in election campaign or displayed partiality towards a particular political party during the ongoing elections for the DDC and Panchayats in violation of the Model Code of Conduct.
“While the District Panchayat Election officers concerned have been asked to verify and take further appropriate action as per Election Rules, I feel it necessary to utilize your good office to issue instructions to officers/officials at all levels of the hierarchy that a strict vigil is maintained to ensure that neither any official nor the official machinery is involved in election campaign and no partiality is exhibited to ensure free, fair and incident free elections,” Sharma wrote in his letter to Subrahmanyam.
A day after Sharma’s letter, the General Administration Department (GAD) today called upon all Administrative Secretaries, Divisional Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners and HoDs to maintain strict vigil and ensure that no employee displays partiality towards any political party.
“Some Government employees have reportedly been participating in election campaign and displaying partiality towards particular political parties in the ongoing DDC/Panchayat elections in violation of the Model Code of Conduct, a matter, which has been viewed seriously by the authorities,” the GAD order issued by Commissioner/Secretary Manoj Kumar Dwivedi said.
It added that it should be ensured that no official machinery is used for electioneering to ensure free, fair and incident free election.
Meanwhile, the State Election Commissioner today said that the necessary COVID Protocols have been put in place for ensuring safe DDC polls in the Union Territory.
The SEC was interacting with Deputy Commissioners of all districts of Jammu and Kashmir through video conferencing which was also attended by the respective Chief Medical Officers and senior officers of State Election Commission.
Sharma directed the officers to ensure foolproof mechanism for ensuring strict adherence to the already set COVID-19 protocols so that the voters do not feel any hindrance in coming out to vote.
He said that the Health Department and the district administration should synergize their efforts to ensure successful and safe conduct of the upcoming DDC elections.
The meeting was told that foolproof method mechanism has been devised for the postal ballots from absentee voters especially COVID-19 patients in home / institutional isolations and quarantine.
It was also given out that sanitization of polling stations and counting centers would be done before the polling date and afterwards as well.
The meeting was also told that availability of all protective and sanitization equipments like alcohol based sanitizers, non-contact thermometers, facemasks, face shields and PPE Kits has been ensured at the polling stations as well as for the staff and the voters.
It was also given out that necessary IEC activities like publishing of pamphlets and other related material with relation to holding of safe elections has also been done.