PANAJI: Alleging the State government and State Election Commission have failed to uphold the essence of the election process, the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee has said that people of Goa will defeat the ‘money power’ of BJP and will send them strong signal of wrath, this Zilla Panchayat election.
The GPCC president Girish Chodankar on Wednesday addressed a press conference along with GPCC Vice President, also incharge of Election Commission Altinho Gomes and District Vice President Adv. Yemen D’Souza, and lambasted the BJP for using the government machinery to win the ZP elections.
EC has also failed to uphold its objective of awareness, participation and involvement of the voters. “I am confident that EC is working under pressure of the BJP government, as there is complete unrest in the state due to burning issues of coal, unemployment, environment destruction, Corruption, inflation and others. This government is aware that people have gone against them and hence they don’t want maximum participation fearing losing the seats.” Chodankar said.
“We demand that either the Election Commission should do the awareness of election or permit political parties and candidates to do it through means of meetings and campaigning.” He said.
Elaborating the facts, he said that Goa State Election Commission has not convened a single meeting of political parties while holding ZP elections. “Hence, we missed the opportunity to give suggestions this time. We used to raise concerns and objections to certain points during the meeting. But this time we could not.” Chodankar lamented adding Covid positive patients are allowed to cast their votes at the last hour of voting, but safety measures of election staff not taken.
While pointing out the fact that voters slip was given eight months back, before postponing the election, Chodankar raised the question of what efforts have been put by the election commission to ensure maximum participation of voters on the voting day. “Voters Participation is the essence of elections and democracy.” He said.
“The voter’s slips which were given (eight months back) to voters must have lost. Now, the State Election Commission has not permitted even candidates to campaign and also it has not reached out to the people. BLO’s are also not distributing voter slips. Then how we can expect maximum participation.” He said.
“Actually State election commission is discouraging the voters from participation as it is under pressure of BJP government for not creating awareness. It was the duty of EC to create awareness. People are not even aware of the date of election.” He said.
He alleged that BJP is using government machinery for the campaigning of the Zilla Panchayat election and creating obstacles for opposition by using election officers.
Chodankar said that CM himself is violating the code of conduct by taking meetings in various constituencies.
“BJP leader Subhash Phaldesai has circulated the list of meetings by CM in Sanguem. Though the Chief Minister didn’t attend due to ill health, his ministers, MLAs and party president attended the meetings. But despite complaints from us, no action was taken against them.” He said.
Chodankar said that when he tried to meet his election booth agents from Nuvem to guide them, BJP pressurized election officers to stop him and also our candidates.
“BJP’s MLAs and ministers are distributing money to the public by taking police protection. Recently BJP minister Chandrakant Kavalekar and his wife were seen distributing money under the protection of police. But no action was taken against them.” He said.
He said it is unfortunate that elections are conducted with various notifications signed by former Election Commissioner, who is behind bars after convicted in one case.
GPCC Vice President Altinho Gomes who attends all meetings of EC expressed shock that not a single meeting was convened by EC. He expressed unhappiness for not taking measures to safeguard election duty staff.