EC says no to PM's rally

PTI, PANAJI | 28 February 2012 11:10 IST

The Election Commission has declined permission for use of a government college ground near Panaji as the venue for a Congress rally to be addressed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Singh is scheduled to address the public meeting on February 29 for the March 3 Goa Assembly polls.

The Congress had selected Sankhalim College ground near Panaji for the rally.

Joint Chief Electoral Officer Narayan Navti on Monday said properties of educational institutes, whether government, private, aided or unaided, cannot be used for campaigning.

"We have told the Director of Higher Education that they should not allow their ground at Sankhalim College to be used for political meetings," he said.

Opposition BJP and its student wing ABVP had lodged a formal protest with the Election Commission over the PM's public meeting at the ground.

Navti said since classes at the college are going on, the proposed meeting can affect the studies of the students. If the ruling Congress goes ahead with the meeting, action will be taken as per the law, he warned.

Meanwhile, a senior Congress leader said, "We may find another venue but there is no question of cancelling the Prime Minister's visit."

In Delhi a senior EC official told that the poll panel was re-examining its decision after the state Congress approached it saying there was no other big ground in Goa to host the rally to be addressed by the PM.

"After Goa Congress asked the Election authorites in the state to reconsider its decision, the CEO has referred the matter to EC in Delhi. We are examining the matter," the official said, adding a decision would be taken soon.

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