RANCHI: Concerned over its election budget, JMM on Thursday approached the Election Commission and urged it to conduct the upcoming assembly polls in a single phase along the lines of Maharashtra and Haryana.
A two-member JMM delegation met representatives of the EC, who are here to take stock of the preparations ahead of the announcement of the poll dates, and submitted a two-page memorandum in this regard.
"In 2014, the polls were held in five phases. For regional parties like JMM, it becomes difficult to arrange funds for campaigning. On the other hand, cash-rich parties like BJP benefit from it. As a result, the election campaign does not remain a level-playing field," JMM general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya told the media at the party office before going to meet the EC officials at a hotel in the evening.
JMM also verbally communicated to the EC team that multiphase elections help national parties like the BJP as it brings in star campaigners like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior leaders in adjoining constituencies or assembly segments which indirectly influences the voters.
JMM had vehemently criticised Modi's visit to Sahibganj in March 2017 to lay foundations of the port on the banks of Ganga and a bridge, hand out appointment letters and distribute mobile phones to women self-help group workers. Modi's visit, organised by the state government, was three days prior to the bye-election in the adjoining Littipara assembly segment in the JMM bastion of Santhal Pargana.
"The EC officials said they are in favour of conducting the polls in a single phase. However, they said a decision will be taken after considering all factors," Bhattacharya added.
JMM also accused several deputy commissioners of publicising government schemes through their Twitter handles and asked the EC to keep DCs, who double up as poll officers during elections, away from the process. The party also shared screenshots of the tweets with the EC team and alleged that the Twitter handles were used to promote Modi's visit to the state to launch the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Mandhan Yojana on September 12.
"DCs of Ranchi, West Singhbhum, Giridih , Deoghar, Chatra, Latehar and Koderma are using Twitter and Facebook to give a sense to the people that no development work happened in Jharkhand before the advent of the Raghubar Das government in 2014. They are also using social media platforms to publicise government schemes. We suspect that in such a scenario, the election cannot be conducted without bias and influence if they work as BJP's karyakartas. Hence, they must be dissociated from election duties," the memorandum read.