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CEO order removal of political ads on Govt/PSU premises

Hyderabad: Chief Electoral Officer of Telangana, Dr Rajat Kumar, has issued orders, prohibiting using of the premises of Government or Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) for display of political advertisements as long as model code of conduct is in force.

Citing instructions issued in this regard by the Election Commission earlier, he asked all the Collectors and District Election Officers and the Commissioner, GHMC and DEO, Hyderabad district, not to allow the display even if some commercial spaces are available in Government/PSU premises.

He said here on Thursday: “The commercial spaces of the Government/PSUs can’t be used for political advertisements during election period.

If there is no specific provision in the PSUs bylaws or in their agreements with ad agencies, to whom they let out the space for ads, to prohibit the display of political ads, the PSUs may add a para in their commercial agreements with ad agencies while providing space on lease to the ad agency for placing commercial ads”.

The para should read: “No political advertisement shall be displayed/pasted at the space provided on lease for commercial ads like airports, railway stations, railway-bridges, government buses, public buildings, electric and telephone poles, municipal/local bodies buildings, inter-state/local bus stands, government transportation/ post offices, government hospitals/dispensaries during the model code of conduct”. Exemptions are, however, given to the main highways and main roads etc.

The CEO ordered the authorities to remove immediately, these political ads on such spaces if they are already there.

In case of halls/auditoriums/meeting venues owned/controlled by the Government/local authorities/PSUs/cooperatives, he again quoted the Election Commission instructions.

He said If there is law/guidelines governing their use, not precluding political meetings, there was no objection but it should be ensured that the allocation was made on equitable basis and there should not be any monopolization by any political party or candidate.

“At such venues, displaying of banners, buntings, flags, cut-outs, may be permitted during the period of meetings subject to restrictions under law/ guidelines in force.

Such display of articles should be removed by the party/individual, who used the premises, immediately after conclusion of the meeting and in any case, within a reasonable time after the meeting. Permanent/semi-permanent defacement such as wall-writing, pasting of posters etc should not be permitted.

About the specially earmarked space provided for display of advertisements in a public places such as bill-boards, hoardings and if such space is already let out to any agency for further allocation to individual clients, he said, the DEOs, through the municipal authority concerned, should ensure that the political parties and candidates received equal opportunity of access to such advertisement space for election-related advertisement. (INN)

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