"Holding Media Meet on Polling Date Violates Law"

"Holding Media Meet on Polling Date Violates Law"

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi held a press conference here today to attack BJP and the "partisan" role of Election Department, which termed the media meet on polling day as violation of electoral laws.

Gogoi, however, hit back at the Election Department saying he has not violated any Code and accused it of not taking any action against "blatant violations" by BJP leaders.

"I know what to say and what not in a press meet. I am not asking anyone to vote for Congress. I am a law abiding citizen and also a lawyer. I have not violated any Model Code of Conduct (MCC)," Gogoi told PTI.

Taking note of the development, Assam Chief Electoral Officer Vijayendra said holding of a press conference on the day of second phase of polling is a violation of MCC.

"It is a violation. We have sent our report to Election Commission of India (ECI). They will take appropriate action regarding this," he added.

Gogoi further said many BJP leaders are "openly" violating MCC but the Election Department is not taking any action on these.

"They are playing a partisan role. Himanta (Biswa Sarma) took out a bike rally yesterday in his constituency Jalukbari after ending the campaign on Saturday evening. This is a blatant violation of MCC, but nobody is taking note of this," he added.

On this allegation, Vijayendra said the Election Department has sought a report from local authority and "this too will be forwarded to ECI for further action".

Gogoi accused the Election Department of a "biased role" in confining Congress candidate Gautam Bora of Batadroba to his house yesterday.

Just before the press meet, Kamrup Metropolitan Executive Magistrate Chinmoy Nath, on behalf of Election Department, reached the venue and tried to prevent Gogoi from going ahead with the programme.

"When I requested him not to hold the press meet, he asked me to arrest him. I have forwarded my report to the Department," he added.

Later, a notice on a plain paper and without any official seal was pasted on the walls of Hotel Ambarish prohibiting holding of the press meet.

When asked about this, Nath said: "Yes, I pasted this order. On the spot, we paste orders like this".

"Meanwhile, a directive was issued to "all the TV Channels and radio stations/channels" not to repeat the telecast or broadcast of the press conference.

"You are requested not to re-telecast/re-broadcast the press conference. You are also requested to comply with the above mentioned legal provision," Additional Chief Electoral Officer Nitin Khade said in the order.

The directive to the media referred to Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and explained the prohibitory points in it.

Commenting on the development, BJP chief ministerial candidate and Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said Congress is losing the election and so violating laws out of "frustration".

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