The Telangana Election Commission has received 5,291 complaints of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) through the C-Vigil application since its launch on November 7. Out of these, 3,703 complaints have been acted upon, said the Chief Electoral Officer for the State, Rajat Kumar on Monday. The state EC received 16 types of violations on the C-Vigil application, which was released by the Election Commission of India (ECI), meant for members of the public to report on MCC violations.
Using the app, citizens can report political misconduct with proof, in the form of a video or photograph that are geo-tagged. Citizens can report on MCC violations either by electoral candidates or their supporters. The app, which works only when an election is announced in a state, became fully operational in Telangana from November 7. Out of the total 5,291 complaints received on C-Vigil, election officials found only 3,703 complaints to be genuine.
Display of banners/posters without permission: A major chunk of these complaints, that is, 2,210 complaints, was related to pasting or displaying posters or banners without permission. Of these, 1,829 complaints were found to be genuine violations and actions were taken against them; 284 complaints were dropped; and 95 complaints kept pending at different levels, said Kumar.
Property defacement: Cases concerning property defacement numbered 141 and out of them, 103 were redressed, 33 were dropped and three are still pending. EC also received 96 complaints alleging transportation for rallies; action was taken against 65 of them, 30 were dropped and one is pending.
The CEO said a total of 188 complaints in all the categories of MCC violations were pending redressal. The cases, which were dropped in all these categories, numbered 1,395, which includes 284 complaints related to displaying of posters or banners without permission.
Display of firearms: Out of 67 complaints pertaining to images of leaders holding guns and sword, 43 complaints were found to be genuine and action was taken, while 19 were complaints were dropped and five complaints kept in pending.
Distribution of gifts and coupons: Similarly, 111 complaints were received alleging that gifts and coupons were distributed; out of this, 67 complaints were dropped, while 44 complaints were found to be true and action was taken. No complaints remain pending in this category.
Liquor distribution: As many as 112 complaints were received by the State EC about liquor distribution through the C-Vigil app. The EC took action against 54 of these complaints and dropped 57 of them, with one complaint pending.
Cash distribution: Out of 182 complaints received in this category, only 41 were found to be genuine and 137 complaints were dropped with four complaints pending.
Religious/communal speeches: 43 complaints were received against religious or communal speeches or messages, and 22 of them were found to be genuine. No complaint remains pending in this category.
Campaigning from 10 pm- 6 am: The other violations that were brought to light before the State EC include 41 complaints about campaigning during the period from 10 pm to 6 am. Out of these, 26 complaints were attended and 13 complaints dropped, with two complaints pending.
Paid news: When it comes to paid news in media, 116 instances of paid news was flagged by the public and action was taken against 52 such complaints, with 56 of them dropped and 8 in pending.
Monitoring the media
The state EC is also monitoring of news channels and have constituted a unit on October 3, which is working directly under the CEO. The unit, which began its operations on October 19, maintains a round-the-clock vigil on news channels over MCC violations.
It scans contents on news television channels to identify political advertisements streamed in the garb of news coverage, stated the state EC in a press release.
Kumar said the unit tracks 22 news channels in Telugu, five in Urdu and two in English.
Daily reports are being generated with video clippings on MCC violations. These are sent to the District Elections Officers for necessary action against candidates/parties/ television channels.
The unit also submits reports to the state Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC) regarding telecast of paid news and advertisements violating the code.
The CEO said that ever since the unit commenced its operations they have flagged violations ranging from distribution of cash, liquor, seizure of gold, silver, ganja, gutka and tobacco to political advertisements, paid news and to speeches.
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