Union govt ads under ECI scanner

  The Chief Electoral Officer Anil Kumar Jha on Tuesday said advertisements on various welfare programmes sponsored by the Union government in print and electronic media were under the review of the Election Commission of India (ECI).

Jha said a related complaint seeking stopping of such advertisements has been lodged by the State BJP unit and the same has been forwarded to the ECI.

Asked about using photograph of former president A P J Abdul Kalam for creating awareness among voters, Jha said Kalam had been the ECI’s ‘ambassador’ over the years. Mary Kom and Saina Nehwal were recent additions to the list, he said.

Jha said advertisements on public welfare programmes sponsored by the State government through billboards and other media have already been removed.

“In fact, we are using the government billboards for voter awareness campaigns and other publicity requirements of the ECI. We will be concentrating on the awareness programmes pertaining to voter registration till April 7 and then, we will stress on creating awareness on the importance of voting. Youths will be our special focus,” he said.

Officials with the ECI said that of the Rs 200 crore allotted towards election expenditure, Rs 100 crore had been sanctioned. Since it is State polls, the funds are being sanctioned by the State government. Funds are being used for publicity programmes also. “We are hoping to limit the total polls expenses to Rs 180 crore,” he added.

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