Shimla: With the model code of conduct in force in poll-bound Himachal Pradesh, the Election Commission on Sunday asked the state government to stop distribution of carry bags, free of cost, to PDS consumers with picture of former prime minister AB Vajpayee inscribed on them.
The scheme to distribute free carry bags to 16 lakh PDS card holders, launched on August 15 last, had been put on hold till the model code of conduct was in force in the hill state, Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath said.
Sampath, who was in Shimla to review arrangements for the Assembly election, said, "Henceforth, no bags will be issued to PDS consumers with pictures of any political leader inscribed on them."
With the model code of conduct in force in the state, PDS bags will not be able to carry AB Vajpayee's photo.
He said the commission had received a complaint in this regard and no such free bags would be distributed from Sunday.
The commission had also received complaints regarding violation of the model code of conduct by the ruling BJP and these would be looked into and action taken, if warranted, the CEC said.
He, however, expressed satisfaction over arrangements made by the state government for the Assembly election slated for November 4.
Sampath said the commission had received complaints about "bias reporting" by local Doordarshan Kendra and would take up the matter with the Union Information and Broadcasting ministry.
Referring to complaints of large-scale appointments, re-employment and extension granted to some employees, the CEC said "we will certainly look into the matter."
"We will interfere in case the concerned employee is directly involved in the polling process and take appropriate action," he said.
The commission would also look into complaints about posting of certain officers with doubtful integrity in some districts, Sampath said.
"It will also look into complaints of massive recruitment being made by the Himachal University," he said.
Sampath said a system was in place to check "paid news" and added Media Certification and Monitoring Committees had been constituted in all districts in this regard.
"With the initiative of the Commission, 97 per cent voters have been registered. The number of newly-enrolled voters in the 18-19 age group has gone above 80 per cent," he said.
The 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly will go to polls on November 4 and the counting of the votes will take place on December 20.