By bappaditya paul
In a first, the Election Commission (EC) will conduct a training session for journalists covering the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls. In West Bengal, the session will be held at Sisir Mancha in Kolkata on 4 March.
According to the state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Mr Sunil Kumar Gupta, the session tagged as ‘media workshop’, will delve into all aspects related to the election. This is being done on the lines of an workshop that was conducted today for the nine recognised political parties in the state.
“The emphasis for the media workshop will obviously be on subjects like paid news, functioning of the media monitoring and certification committees, Model Code of Conduct and the Section 127A of the Representation of the People Act that put certain conditions on the printing of pamphlets, posters etc,” Mr Gupta said.
Apart from the CEO, the various joint and deputy secretaries attached to the CEO’s office will impart the training to journalists. Each of them will speak on an election related subject that they are handling.
Journalists accredited to the state headquarters will be invited for the one-day session; the state Information and Cultural Affairs Department is preparing a list of such journalists and they will extend the invitation on behalf of the EC. The CEO’s office is hoping that over 200 media persons will attend the event.
In the workshop for political parties held today, almost all parties but the Trinamul Congress urged the CEO to ensure deployment of Central paramilitary personnel in each of the polling booths. Of the nine recognised political parties invited to the workshop, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) remained absent.
The state assistance CEO, Mr Amit Jyoti Bhattacharya informed that the EC would hold a special camp in all polling stations in the state after the announcement of election dates, wherein the voters will be able to check out if their names have appeared in the latest electoral roll.
“It will be a one-day camp to be conducted on a holiday and a block level officer (BLO) will be there to assist the voters. The voters will check if their names have found place in the roll. In case it hasn’t, they will be given a Form 6 which they can fill-in on the spot and submit to the BLO,” he said. A voter will also be able to find out the presence of his/her name in the roll by sending the EPIC number in a SMS to 9433633333.
(The author is on the staff of The Statesman, India. This report first appeared in The Statesman on 26 February 2014.)