Code of Conduct Violation: Dharwad District Officials Seize Gold Worth Rs 3.85 Lakh

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Dharwad: Officials deployed for general election duties in the Dharwad Lok Sabha constituency have seized 0.778 kgs of gold worth Rs 3.85 lakh being transported without proper documents since the implementation of the model code of conduct. Additionally, officials have seized Rs 18.71 lakh in cash, drugs weighing about 7.628 kgs worth Rs 8.09 lakh, and liquor worth Rs 28 lakhs.

Deputy Commissioner Divya Prabhu disclosed that sarees worth Rs 17.75 lakhs, jeans pants worth Rs 3.35 lakhs, mixers worth Rs 8 lakhs, pillows worth Rs 35,000, bedsheets worth Rs 7,400, and curtains worth Rs 2,200 have also been seized.

Emphasizing the importance of adhering to the model code of conduct and election rules, Divyaprabhu, who also serves as the District Election Officer, addressed a one-day media workshop on media certification and monitoring unit (MC&MC) and paid news at the Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Corporation. She stressed the necessity for pre-certification of all political advertisements across electronic and social media platforms. She reiterated that news reports suspected of being paid news would undergo thorough scrutiny through the monitoring system.

Furthermore, Divyaprabhu outlined the procedures governing the printing and publication of election campaign materials, emphasizing the mandatory inclusion of printer and publisher details as per Section 127A of the RP Act, 1951.

Drawing attention to Section 126(1)(b) of the RP Act, Divyaprabhu reminded that the public display of election-related content through any media, including social media, is prohibited for 48 hours prior to the close of polling. Additionally, she reiterated the ban on opinion polls and exit polls during this period.

The workshop also highlighted the criteria for identifying paid news, including the detection of similar articles across competing publications and excessive coverage of a particular candidate. Divyaprabhu elaborated on the process of assessing the cost of paid news and its inclusion in the candidate’s election expenses account.

In a bid to regulate social media engagement during elections, all contesting candidates are required to furnish details of their official social media accounts at the time of nomination. District and state-level MC&MCs will monitor social media activities, reporting violations to the Election Commission of India (ECI) for necessary action.

Divyaprabhu emphasized the collaborative efforts between electoral authorities and social media platforms in ensuring compliance with election regulations. Violations reported to the ECI will prompt swift action against the platforms involved.

As Karnataka braces itself for the electoral showdown, these measures aim to uphold the integrity of the democratic process and ensure a level playing field for all candidates.

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