Five Puducherry contestants who posted advertisements on social media without MCMC authorization were fined Rs 2 lakh

Five Puducherry constituency candidates have been fined a total of Rs 2 lakh for using social media platforms to publish advertising without first getting permission from the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC).

In a news conference on Tuesday, Returning Officer A Kulothungan said that the candidates—including those from major political parties and independents—had been fined for violating the election model code of behavior. The Election Commission of India has also received answers to show-cause letters sent to the AINRC and BJP for suspected breaches of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) for further consideration.

The notification to AINRC was sent in response to a possible MCC violation that was alleged to have occurred when Chief Minister N Rangasamy announced a rise in the old age pension during his campaign. In a same vein, the BJP was notified that Pondicherry Police logos and images were being used in their campaign materials, raising questions about unapproved use.

Speaking about election readiness, Kulothungan said that all election-related equipment is running at full tilt to guarantee a fair and easy voting procedure. 10,23,699 voters make up the overall electorate, which also includes 28,921 new voters. The 4,80,569 male, 5,42,979 female, and 151 third-gender votes make up the total.

“A thorough round-the-clock surveillance system has been put in place, supported by the Puducherry Police and Central Security Forces cooperation. This entails the deployment of several monitoring teams, checkpoints, and flying squads to assiduously enforce election laws. To strictly enforce the MCC, 48 special flying squads, 33 flying squads, and 31 border checkpoints have been deployed, he said.

Transportation arrangements for voters over 85 and those with impairments have been prepared ahead of election day. Notably, section 144 of the CrPC will be enforced, and movie theater showings on April 18 (night show) and 19 will not be permitted. Loudspeaker use will also be restricted after the campaign ends at 6 p.m.

4468 staff members will be stationed at polling places to supervise the voting process, while 211 micro-observers will be placed in high-risk areas under Election Commission guidelines. Twelve companies of paramilitary soldiers have been sent in to help with the polling process. It is the responsibility of the electricity department to make sure there are no power outages.

Election Commission guidelines state that before being deployed to polling places on April 18 with full security, Electronic Voting Machines (2587 Ballot Unit, 1254 Control Unit, and 1323 Electronic Paper Audit Machine, or VVPAT) used for the election are randomly mixed twice in the presence of political parties, candidates, and agents.

In order to maximize voter participation, employers are required to provide a public holiday together with pay. Complaints about noncompliance may be sent to a toll-free hotline (1950).
Officials voice hope for a massive democratic celebration in light of these preparations, highlighting the importance of 100% voter turnout and the responsibility that citizens and political parties play in protecting the integrity of elections and democracy.

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