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June 27 bypolls: Pictures of candidates to be on ballot paper

PTI New Delhi | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on June 21, 2015

Photographs of candidates, including Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, contesting the June 27 Assembly bypolls to six seats in five states, will be on the ballot papers alongside their names and party symbols.

According to an Election Commission order, in any election being held after May 1, the ballot papers will carry the picture of the candidate with his or her name and party symbol to avoid confusion among the electorate in constituencies where namesakes are contesting.

The June 27 bypolls are the first since the order came into effect.

Besides Dr Radhakrishnan Nagar, from where the AIADMK leader is contesting, by-elections would be held in Chokpot (Meghalaya), Aruvikkara (Kerala), Pratapgarh and Surma (Tripura) and Garoth (Madhya Pradesh).

Jayalalithaa, who took over as Chief Minister for the fifth time recently, has to get elected to the Legislative Assembly within six months of assuming office.

AIADMK MLA from Radhakrishnan Nagar Constituency P Vetrivel had resigned amid speculation that Jayalalithaa may contest the bypoll from there.

The disqualification of the AIADMK chief as a candidate in elections had ended following her acquittal by the Karnataka High Court in a disproportionate assets case. She had suffered disqualification upon her conviction in November last year.

She was disqualified from contesting elections for 10 years following her conviction by a special court in Bangalore. She was representing the Srirangam assembly seat then.

An EC direction to all Chief Electoral Officers of states and Union Territories said that for elections to be held from May 1, 2015 onwards, the ballot papers, postal ballot papers and ballot papers to be displayed on EVMs will also carry the photographs of the candidates.

“The Commission has noted that there are many cases where candidates with same or similar names contest from the same constituency.

“Although appropriate suffixes are added to the names of candidates in the event or two or more candidates having same name, the Commission considers that additional measures are required for removing confusion in the minds of electors at the time of voting,” the EC direction said.

The EC pointed out that a writ petition on the subject is pending in the Supreme Court.

To allow CEOs to add photographs to ballot papers, the EC has modified its existing directions issued under the Conduct of Election Rules.

The photograph will appear between the name of the candidate and his or her election symbol.

The Commission explained that if a candidate fails to provide the photograph, it “shall not be a ground for the rejection of the nomination of the candidate“.

The candidates will now be required to submit their recent photograph, either black and white or coloured, to the election authorities at the time of filing nomination.

No uniforms would be allowed and caps and dark glasses have to be avoided, the EC said.

The poll watchdog had recently informed the Supreme Court that it is open to the idea of printing photographs of contesting candidates on the ballot papers.

Published on June 21, 2015
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