Nagpur: The office of District Collector and District Election Officer, it seems, in their efforts to ensure maximum voting in the ensuing Lok Sabha election, going overboard and thus violating the Code of Conduct in their own way.
The bone of contention is the letter the District Collector and District Election Officer Ashwin Mudgal has sent to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Zilla Parishad and Education Officer (Primary and Middle School). The letter, under the subject “Urgent action to be initiated under SVEEP,” has directed both the officers to procure ‘Sankalp Patra’ (undertaking) from school students that their parents will mandatorily cast their votes in the election. The letter further says that directives should be issued to all headmasters of schools to compulsorily ask students to provide resolution that their parents will vote in the Lok Sabha election.
The letter of District Collector and District Election Officer, signed by Ashwin Mudgal himself, further says that Rajendra Bhuyar, Nodal Officer SVEEP (Rural) and Ranjana Lade, Nodal Officer SVEEP (Urban) have been asked to submit their compliance report in this regard immediately.
The Chairman of RTE Action Committee Mohd Shahid Sharif has raised a strong objection to the letter of District Collector and District Election Officer and termed it as a ‘high handed’ action. “This is nothing but flagrant violation of Model Code of Conduct as well as Right to Education (RTE) Act.
You cannot force the students to tell their parents to cast their votes. Furthermore, procuring Sankalp Patra (Resolution) from students is high handed action for ensuring maximum voting. Students are not the commodity to be used for such an action. Parents know their responsibility but to force them to vote through their children could be called coercion,” Sharif charged.
The Chairman of RTE Action Committee further said that he has learnt that the office of District Collector and District Election Officer has requisitioned school buses to ferry parents to the polling stations. “How can the district administration acquisition school buses for election duty. Furthermore, deployment of teachers on election duty is also violation of RTE Act,” Sharif stated.
“Instead of correcting the electoral rolls, the office District Collector and District Election Officer is burdening the students with poll related activities. Names of lakhs of voters are missing. The electoral rolls are full of flaws,” an angry Sharif said.