File photo of Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani with BJP President Amit Shah in Surat. 

Election Commission Says No Newspaper Advertisements On Dec. 8, 9 Without Clearance

The Election Commission today issued directions that no newspaper advertisement be published on Dec. 8 and 9 in poll-bound Gujarat without its prior clearance, a policy the poll panel adopted after controversial ads were issued by the BJP during the 2015 Bihar elections.

The first phase of Gujarat election would be held on Dec. 9 for 89 assembly seats.

In a direction to the Chief Electoral Officer of Gujarat, the commission said that instances of “advertisements of offending and misleading nature” were brought to its notice in the past.

“Such advertisements in the last stage of election vitiate the election. The affected candidates and parties will not have any opportunity of providing clarification or rebuttal in such cases,” the poll watchdog said.

Parties must ensure that no such instance is repeated and no untoward incident takes place because of any “inflammatory, misleading or hate advertisements”, no political party, candidate, organisation or person will bring out ads in the print media on Dec. 8 and 9 unless the contents are pre- certified by Media Certification and Monitoring Committee at the district or state level, the EC added.

The newspapers, the commission said, should also be informed against bringing out advertisements which were not cleared by the committee.

During Bihar polls, the commission had imposed a ban on publication of two controversial advertisements printed by the BJP in the state. One of the advertisements alleged that RJD supremo Lalu Prasad and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar were "snatching the plate of Dalits" by planning to transfer the quota meant for Dalits and EBCs to minorities. Another dealt with "vote ki kheti" or vote- bank politics. It claimed that the RJD, the JDU and the Congress leaders were "giving sanctuary" to terrorists to appease a particular community for votes.