New Delhi : Aam Aadmi Party yesterday complained to the Delhi Election Commission that its campaign for Assembly polls had virtually come to a standstill due to delays in getting ‘No Objection Certificates' (NoCs) for rallies and “arbitrary” changes in the Model Code of Conduct.
Senior lawyer and AAP leader Prashant Bhushan yesterday met Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Vijay Dev and alleged that his party's campaign had been hit hard as they required NOCs from multiple agencies and the “single-window facility set up by the EC for obtaining NOCs was yet to become functional”.
“Our volunteers keep running from one office to another to seek approvals, but they are hard to get. This has virtually put a stop on our public meetings,” Bhushan said.
Claiming that the Election Commission lacked a clear-cut policy about the use of cheaper means of campaigning, AAP spokesperson Manish Sisodia said, “We are caught between the use of cheaper and costlier means of campaigning.”
“The EC has policy to monitor use of expensive means of campaigning, but not cheaper means like canvassing through rickshaw mounted with loudspeaker, use of projector for street-corner meetings or through hand-held microphone,” he said, adding they were “unable to bear the cost of hoardings”.
Sisodia alleged some rules of the Model Code were being “arbitrarily” tweaked by the junior staff. “Like permission to use loudspeaker mounted on rickshaw for four hours was reduced to two hours arbitrarily by the staff,” he claimed.
Bhushan said the Model Code of Conduct doesn't mean that one can't conduct legitimate and legal campaign. “Every one has the Right to Freedom of Speech and if we are being stopped from doing that then it is unconstitutional,” he said.