Chief Electoral Officer Narinder Chauhan in a meeting with representatives of all the political parties stated that the provisions of Model Code of Conduct were applicable to all the candidates, political parties, and state government from 3rd October, 2012 (the date of announcement of polls to the H.P. State Assembly) and would remain in force till the completion of the election process i.e. till 24th December, 2012.

Issuing directions in this regard, Chief Electoral Officer said that as per the instructions of Election Commission of India, Flying Squads, Video Surveillance Teams, Static Surveillance Teams etc. had been constituted in each Assembly Constituency for greater transparency and monitoring of Election Expenditure. He said that the format, for filing of affidavits regarding criminal backgrounds, assets, liabilities and education qualification of the candidates have been combined into one format (Form 26). The candidates must ensure that they file their affidavits in the revised format (Form 26) only. He said that the Media Certification and Monitoring Committees (MCMC) had been constituted at all District and State Headquarters to deal with ‘paid news’.

He said that Election Expenditure was classified into two categories. Expenditure, which was allowed under the law for electioneering was Rs.11 Lakhs per constituency, subject to it being within permissible limit. It included campaigning like public meetings, public rallies, posters, banners, vehicles and advertisements in print or electronic media. Items which were not permitted under the law were distribution of money, liquor and any other items to woo the electors.

Chauhan said that ADM’s and SDM’s would be nodal officers of the Expenditure Monitoring Cell at District level. He said that the candidate or his representative would submit an expenditure plan in a prescribed format along with application for permission in respect of public meetings or rallies etc. All expenses relating to rally, organized while filing nomination, would be included in the candidate’s expenditure account.

He said that if the candidate or his agent shares dais with star campaigner or name of the candidate mentioned by star campaigner or photographs of candidate displayed at the site of public rally, then the entire expenditure, except travel expenses of star campaigner, would be included in candidate’s account. He said that if the candidate shares transport facility with the star campaigner, then 50 percent of travel expenses would be added to the his account.

Chief Electoral Officer said that as far as use of vehicles during electioneering was concerned, the permission would be obtained from Returning Officer and it should be displayed in front of the vehicle. Any vehicle used for campaigning without obtaining permission from RO would attract provision of section 171 H of IPC. He said that the vehicle should be used by the candidate to whom permission had been granted and not by another candidate.

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