EC allows political meetings in school,college in HP

Shimla:The Election Commission today permitted candidates and political parties to use school and college grounds to hold political meetings during the campaign for the upcoming Himachal Pradesh assembly polls.

"Election Commission has allowed the use of school and college grounds for political parties provided the management of concerned institution does not raise any objection and a prior permission is obtained from the Sub Divisional Officer," Chief Electoral Officer, Himachal, Narinder Chauhan said.

The main objective behind the move was to ensure level playing field for political parties and candidates, he said.

The permission would be granted on a first-come-first serve basis, he said adding, it would be ensured the political meetings do not disturb the academic calendar.

Chauhan said the ground utilised for campaigning purpose should be returned to the concerned authority without any damage and with the requisite compensation for the damage caused, if any. No political party would be allowed to monopolise the use of school, college grounds, he said.

Meanwhile, the Swabhiman Party announced to contest from 45 seats and released the first list of 26 candidates.

Swabhiman Party chief Jagannath Sharma said former BJP ideologue K N Govindacharya would soon visit Himachal to launch the party's election campaign. Dile Ram, a sitting MLA, today withdrew his resignation from BJP and assured to work for victory of all ten candidates of the party from Mandi district.

Earlier, Ram had announced his resignation and also threatened to contest the poll as an independent candidate. Asha Parihar, a strong contender of BJP ticket from Arki constituency today announced to contest as an independent candidate and started her election campaign.

Sudha Sushant, wife suspended party MP, Rajan Sushant, also declared to contest as an independent candidate from Fatehapur constituency. The seat was represented by Sushant before he was elected to Lok Sabha and his wife was denied ticket in the by-poll and BJP lost the seat.

Meanwhile, six candidates including sitting member Anil Sharma — son of former Union Communication minister Sukh Ram — filed their nomination papers today, taking the total number of nominations to 13.

Sharma filed the nomination paper from Mandi (Sadar) constituency. Inden Singh of BJP filed his nomination from Balh (SC) constituency in Mandi district.