‘Clarify on using Conch symbol in advertisements’

| | BHUBANESWAR
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‘Clarify on using Conch symbol in advertisements’

Thursday, 29 February 2024 | PNS | BHUBANESWAR

The Election Commission of India (ECI) is learnt to have sought clarification from the Odisha’s Chief Secretary and the general secretary of the ruling Biju Janta Dal (BJD) for using the party’s “Conch” symbol in advertisements issued by the State Government using public funds.

Quoting sources, news agency ANI said, “The step is in congruence with the no-nonsense attitude of the Commission under Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar towards the disturbance of a level playing field.”

According to sources, the ECI has noted that the said activity violates its October 7, 2016 instructions which state that "The Commission is of the view that utilising public funds/public places for promoting any political party or propagating its election symbol would be antithetical to the concept of a free and fair election and the principle of a level playing field for all stakeholders. Accordingly, the Commission has directed that no political party shall henceforth either use or allow the use of any public funds, public place, or government machinery for carrying out any activity that would amount to an advertisement for the party or propagating the election symbol allotted to the party.”

The Bharatiya Janata Party, the major opposition party in Odisha, and a few other political parties had reportedly filed complaints with the ECI that the "Conch" symbol of the BJD is being displayed and promoted through various advertisements in leading Odisha newspapers, TV channels and State-owned buses and by way of hoardings in different cities and towns in Odisha.

The commission has sought a reply from the State Government and the party on the allegations by 17.00 hrs on March 2, 2024.

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