Lucknow, Mar 21: Election Commission has taken note of AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal‘s complaint that on a proposal by Reliance Industries, petroleum ministry is going to hike gas prices from April 1 and said it would examine the matter.
“The Commission will look into it and the urgency shown in going ahead with the decision,” Election Commissioner H S Brahma told a press conference here flanked by Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampat.
“A decision that was awaited for so long could be put on hold for another two months,” Sampat said.
The commission was here to review poll preparations in Uttar Pradesh.
Kejriwal had in a letter to the EC termed the gas price hike as violation of the Model Code of Conduct and alleged that the decision was aimed at providing windfall gains to Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries.
Sampat directed effective deployment of central forces for peaceful and impartial polling and warned that officials found to be working in a partisan manner would be immediately removed from election duty.
“Clear directions have been given for effective deployment of central security forces at the polling centres for conducting elections in a peaceful and impartial manner,” Sampat, who has been camping in the state capital since yesterday, said.
On complaints of some political parties that certain officials were working in a biased manner, Sampat said, “Any official found to be working in a partial manner would not be allowed to continue with poll-related work.” He said representatives of some political parties had submitted certain complaints. These would be verified and suitable action taken.
On the complaint of some political parties that fake cases were being filed against political workers and leaders, he said the chief electoral officer of the state would take appropriate steps. About political leaders making derogatory allegations and comments against their opponents, Sampat said the EC would not desist from taking action against anyone crossing the line of decency or violating the Model Code.
To a suggestion that action was often not found to be taken in cases of violation of the Model Code, Sampat said the EC was doing its work and some of the cases pertaining to inflammatory speeches were still going on in courts.
To an oblique reference to Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma spending public funds on distributing gifts and money during an official function, Sampat said newspaper cuttings can be provided to the chief electoral officer for verification.
On BSP chief Mayawati’s statement that there was an effort to spoil the communal atmosphere by fielding BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav respectively from Varanasi and Azamgarh, Sampat said, “We are keeping a watch on Uttar Pradesh and we are committed to conduct free and fair elections.”
On some people still living in relief camps in Muzaffarnagar after the riots, Sampat said every rightful voter would get the right to exercise his franchise and would not be deprived of his voting rights.
To keep a check on paid news in media, committees have been set up in every district and action would be taken wherever such a case comes to light, Sampat said, adding, anyone wanting to upload campaign material on social media would have to get it certified by the EC and its cost would be added in his account.
A watch would also be kept on social media and any objectionable material coming to light would have to be immediately removed and strict action as per the law would be initiated.