Manipur Election 2017: BJP blames Manipur CEO for ads goof-up, set to file counter FIR

Imphal: The Manipur unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to file a counter-FIR against the State Election Commission (SEC) for "mentally harassing" the party's office bearers, and for allegedly creating confusion with regards to advertisements that were published in local dailies in Imphal, Manipur, on 3 March.

Voters stand in queues at a polling center in Imphal. PTI

Voters stand in queues at a polling centre in Imphal. PTI

The saffron party apologised to the All Manipur Working Journalists Union (AMWJU), and apex media body based in Imphal while alleging that it was the SEC which failed to give clear instructions with regards to the ads. Referring to the ads as an "unintentional" mistake, the Manipur Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party also assured legal help to the apex body.

The letter, which was signed by N Nimbus, general secretary of BJP's Manipur Pradesh unit, stated that the party had submitted four applications to the office of Chief Electoral Officer of Manipur on 3 and 4 March as per the circular issued by Election Commission of India (ECI). The circular requires all political parties to get prior approval of any content to be published in newspapers.

Out of the four applications, three were approved by the CEO office, the letter said. However, the certificate which was issued by the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee and duly signed by the Additional CEO did not mention which of the four contents were approved. "As per the methodology mentioned under the rules of Model code of conduct, the MCMC certificates need to attach a copy of the content approved. Since this was not done by the Addl CEO, it created confusion," he said.

On 3 March, the Election Commission (EC) had ordered FIR against office-bearers of the BJP's Manipur unit and certain newspapers for publishing advertisements without its approval.

In a letter to Manipur CEO, the EC has ordered that FIRs under Section 188 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) be lodged against the BJP state unit office-bearers and the newspapers. The guilty parties carried the advertisements on Friday in contravention of its orders and violation of the Representation Of People's Act (RPA).

Manipur letter1

The EC had instructed all stakeholders not to publish any advertisements on 3 and 4 March without pre-screening and subsequent approval by state-level Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC). The poll panel has also sought a compliance report by Monday.

The ads under scrutiny appeared in eight newspapers including the Sangai Express (Manipuri and English editions), Poknapham, People's Chronicle, Naharolgi, Thoudang, Imphal Free Press, Echel Express and Huiyen Lanpao.


Updated Date: Mar 08, 2017 22:43 PM

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