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Poll toll on traffic-stopper

Ranchi, April 4: The Ranchi district administration has lodged a case against external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha for violating the model code of conduct by holding a street-corner meeting that held up traffic.

Ranchi deputy commissioner Pradip Kumar has charged Sinha with “gross violation” of the code after the minister addressed the meeting at a busy roundabout in the city, crippling traffic for more than two-and-a-half hours. The deputy commissioner has lodged an FIR with the city’s Sukhdeo Nagar police station.

“Sinha grossly violated the model code of conduct by holding the meeting at a place where he was not permitted to do so,” the deputy commissioner told The Telegraph.

Kumar said the district administration had allowed Sinha to address the meeting at a nearby field. “But disregarding the district administration’s directive, Sinha addressed the meeting at the busy thoroughfare, causing great discomfiture to the people and passers-by,” the deputy commissioner said.

“We have videographed the illegal meeting. We will send the video cassettes to the Election Commission. He (Sinha) will face action in accordance with the law,” he added.

Sinha could not be contacted despite repeated attempts. However, BJP chief whip in the Assembly C.P. Singh, who was also present at the meeting, said: “I don’t think we did anything in violation of the law. We will do the needful after we are officially told.”

If such charges are established before the commission, the accused is usually censured. The external affairs minister is contesting from the Hazaribagh Lok Sabha seat in Jharkhand.

“The Election Commission’s directive is very clear. No one can disturb the traffic or hold meetings at a non-permitted place,” Kumar said. The presence of poll observers in the city also seems to have spurred the official into action.

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