CSDS survey violates ECI notification and MCC, alleges SKM

Survey sponsored by SDF: Khaling

GANGTOK, 17 Apr:

Sikkim Krantikari Morcha spokesperson, Jacob Khaling, said today that the post poll survey by Centre for the Study of Developing Societies [CSDS], Delhi, is in violation of the notification issued by Election Commission of India on 07 April as well as the Model Code of Conduct that is in place till 23 May.

He also said that some questions in the survey were “anti-national” and the entire process did not assure secrecy of vote as mandated by the ECI. He added that the survey has created panic among voters of the State.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Khaling stated that the survey went against the notification of the Election Commission of India which states that conducting of any exit poll and publishing or publicizing by any means between 7 AM of 11 April to 6:30 PM of 19 May is prohibited. Secrecy of vote is the spirit of democracy but questions in the survey are set up in such a way that it directly violates the secrecy of votes, he stated.

Other questions like whether Muslims were suppressed under the Narendra Modi government in the country is an attempt to create communal disharmony and is totally anti-national, alleged Mr Khaling.

He further questioned the source of funds used in conducting the survey and demanded thorough investigation on the matter.

“Rs 3000 was paid to each student conducting the survey in West Sikkim and Rs 2000 to students in East Sikkim. As per information we have received, CSDS has not issued any funds,” said Mr Khaling.

He also demanded that the lecturers involved be terminated from their jobs and should not get bail.

Mr Khaling also alleged that survey teams were only sent to those constituencies where SKM has a strong hold.

“As the polling process is not over and postal ballot voting is still on, such surveys are an attempt to influence postal ballot voting,” he alleged.

The SKM spokesperson alleged that this survey is sponsored by Sikkim Democratic Front and the CSDS state coordinator is a close relative of the Principal Secretary of the CMO.

He also informed that another survey team from the India Today group has been doing post poll surveys in West Sikkim. On the same, he demanded that the Election Commission and District Collector West take strong action on the matter.

Mr Khaling alleged that ADC [Election], Kishor Pradhan has been misusing his power to influence employees to vote for the ruling party through postal ballot. He further alleged that the ADC has been causing obstructions in the provision of postal ballot to SKM supporters.

On the same, he also demanded that the Election Commission cancel all ballot papers submitted by government employees so far and fresh ballot papers be issued with new design and colour. Arrangements should also be made for all ballot papers to be cast on a single day, he added.

If the Commission does not take any action then it also raises questions about the Election Commission, he added.

Mr Khaling went on to allege that a few government employees and police officers have been misusing their power and favouring the ruling party. SKM has given more than 25 such reports and complaints to the Election Commission, Returning Officers and the Chief Secretary but no action has been taken yet, he added.