ECI sounded over CM's campaign clip
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, January 24: Complaints have reportedly been lodged by various political parties to the Election Commission of India to take up appropriate action against the Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh for his alleged violation of poll code of conduct.

The complaints are based on the news clip flashed on the front page of The Sangai Express during the Chief Minister's election campaign at Thoubal Assembly Constituency yesterday wherein the CM could be seen extending 'a helping hand' with some crisp notes to an elderly person.

Even as political leaders asserted that they have put up the matter before the ECI through the State election officials the Congress, however, belittled the hue and cry raised over the matter contending that the CM's gesture was to help an ailing person to procure medicines and does not amount to bribing voter/s.Nevertheless, informed source conveyed that on instruction of the election Commission of India, the State Chief Electoral Officer has ordered the District Election Officer, Thoubal to investigate the matter and submit a report 'immediately.' subsequently, the DEO is informed to have served a show cause notice on O Ibobi asking the latter to justify why relevant procedures for punitive action should not be initiated.

The office of the state Chief Electoral Officer, which is currently pre-occupied with poll related activities, has also reportedly sent the controversial photo clip to the ECI today, disclosed a senior official in the department.

O Ibobi, it may be mentioned, is in the fray for the three-phase 9th State Legislative Assembly elections from two ACs one in his home turf Khangabok AC and another from the adjacent Thoubal AC.

"This is a clear violation of the election model code of conduct laid down by the ECI and we have just lodged a complaint with the Chief Election Commissioner through the state's Chief Electoral Officer for taking necessary action against Ibobi," said BJP general secretary in charge of north-east V Satish.

It breaches clause-IV of the code of conduct that maintains "All parties and candidates shall avoid scrupulously all activities which are corrupt practice and offences under the election law, such as bribing of voters, intimidation of voters´┐Ż," quoted the BJP leader.

"We have left everything to the Election Commission and we are also waiting reactions from the commission," he maintained while lauding the journalist who captured the picture published in the January 24 edition of The Sangai Express.

State unit NCP president Radhabinod Koijam said the party would definitely lodge a strong complaint on the matter with the EC.

While taking serious note on the said picture a leader of state unit Samajwadi Party said the party strongly condemn the act of the chief minister 'resorting to bribing to woo voters for the ensuing state assembly polls'.

general secretary (Administration) of Manipur People's Party (MPP) Laishram Jatra Singh, who is locked in the electoral fight against O Ibobi in Khangabok AC said a complaint on it has been lodged with the ECI for taking prompt and necessary action.

"By evening the EC authorities might take certain steps into it," he opined.

Responding to the issue, on being contacted chairman of media cell of Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) Seram Mangi in addition to rejecting accusations levelled by other political parties, clarified that the amount was handed over to a needy and ailing person with the intention of assisting the individual's family procure medicines.

"The CM was not distributing money to voters surrounding the ailing person.

Hence there is no case of violation of election code of conduct," he quipped.