No campaigning around Churches during Good Friday: ECI

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Panaji: Chief Electoral Office in Goa has asked its officials not to allow campaigning around Churches in the State on April 19, which is a Good Friday, one of the prominent religious event for followers of Christianity.

Good Friday comes three days before April 23, when polls for two seats of Lok Sabha and three State Assembly by-election in Goa would be held.

The instructions were issued by Chief Electoral Officer Kunal, after representatives of political parties, during a recent meeting, expressed apprehensions over law and order situation, if campaigning happens around Churches during Good Friday.

Minutes of the meeting, which are made public through CEO’s website, mentions that the political representatives raised concerns that campaigning on Good Friday “may hurt the religious sentiments of Christian community and may lead to law and order problems.”

Officials of Election Commission of India who were present for the meeting assured that no law and order issue would crop up as necessary instructions would be given to concerned officers asking them “not to grant any permission for holding meetings and rallies in the vicinity of Church.” The ECI has also said that sufficient police force would be deployed for the purpose.

“CEO appealed to the political parties to exercise self restraint with regards to campaigning on Good Friday in vicinity of Churches,” reads the minutes of the meeting.

The elections for two Lok Sabha seats – North and South Goa and by-elections for three Assembly seats – Shiroda, Mandrem and Mapusa – would be held on April 23.

BJP, Congress, AAP and Shiv Sena have fielded their candidates for both the Lok Sabha seats. On the other hand, MGP, BJP and Congress are contesting the by-polls which were necessitated after resignations by two MLAs and death of sitting legislator Francis D’Souza at Mapusa.

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