Report by Odisha Diary bureau, Bhubaneswar: The social fabric of long cherished democracy in India will be jeopardised unless voters are educated on the moral responsibility of exercising their franchise, says Prasanna Kumar Dash, Director General (Election Expenditure Control & Monitoring) of Election Commission of India.
Speaking on a media workshop convened by Dr. Mona Sharma, Chief Electoral Officer of Odisha, Dash said that the concept of Ethical Voting holds the key, in order to educate the voters on the sanctity of preferring their choice through the process of election. The lofty ideals of democracy cannot be realised to attain this sole objective, Media have to play a pivotal role. Because of unstinted support of media in sensitising the mass on the significance of voting, endeavours for healthy functioning of democracy have been successful both in New Delhi & Tamil Nadu elections.
The moral education of 81 crore voters in India matter much in the global scenario. Since the process of election mirrors the hopes and aspirations of the people, this mega exercise should be conducted in a free & fair manner. The candidates should also stick to the prescribed limit of expenditure. Any attempt to woo the voters by offering bribe in any manner warrants the penal Provision as enshrined in the Section -17(b) of Election Code of conduct. This provision may put both the giver and taker of bribe inside the bar for a period of one year.
Media should extensively disseminate this information in the larger interest of the public, he said. Any good work done by media in this regard will be rewarded at national level, informed Dash.
In order to arrest the menace of economic offence committed by any candidate, enough flying squads have already been put into service. A Toll Free number to record any Complaint in this regard can be lodged with 1950. The reports of media also will be taken into cognisance. At present 16 Lakh in the case of Assembly & 40 Lakh in case of Loksabha have been fixed as the ceiling limit. Likewise neither the candidate, nor the team for propaganda can take more than Rs. 50,000/- at one go and the whole process shall be video recorded.
Speaking on this occasion Dr. Mona Sharma, Chief Electoral Officer, Odisha informed that for each candidate a shadow register shall be opened up which will be maintained by the District Election officers. A certificate needs to be obtained from Media Certification Monitoring Committee constituted for this purpose after which advertisements will be issued electronic media houses of the candidates. The media in general should work in tandem with the office of the Chief Electoral Officer.
Likewise the expenditure incurred towards the paid news will be accounted for in the candidate’s list of expenditure as per the norms laid down by the Press Council of India. Similarly the NBA guideline will scrupulous be followed in case of all Electronic Media. Advertisement managers of different media attended this media workshop.