Ranchi, June 7: Ajit Oraon can let his mayoral ambitions soar like an aeroplane, while Asha Lakra might want her almirah to unlock a victory for her. Former Ranchi mayor Rama Khalkho can expect the blackboard to rewrite her tainted past and script a success story.
Electoral officer Ravi Shankar Verma on Saturday distributed symbols among the 14 final candidates who will be contesting the June 23 mayoral elections, clearing the decks to start campaigning.
A total of 16 candidates had filed nomination papers for the fresh polls after the mayoral vote last year was cancelled in the wake of a cash-for-vote controversy involving Congress-backed Rama. But the candidature of two of them — Rose Pravin Tirkey and Antu Tirkey — were cancelled as they didn’t submit completed papers.
“The election will be held in 901 booths across areas under the Ranchi Municipal Corporation while a total of 4,200 ballot papers will be printed by the Saraswati Printing Press at Barrackpore in Calcutta. Training of presiding and polling officers will be held in two phases on June 8 and June 15 at Birsa stadium,” Verma said.
He also read out the dos and don’ts of the model code of conduct to the candidates at Vikas Bhavan..
“The expenditure limit in the mayoral election is Rs 5 lakh. Each candidate has to maintain a register, which will be checked by three expenditure observers. Any payment above Rs 500 has to be made through cheque,” the electoral officer added.
Among the other restrictions, a candidate can appoint one election agent, but the person must carry an identity card issued by the election office. Campaign materials like posters and banners must carry the names of the press where they have been printed. Candidates and their supporters cannot deface any public property with posters and banners.
In a bid to ensure that there is no re-run of incidents like last year’s recovery of cash from a Ranchi hotel a day before the April 8 mayoral, Ranchi deputy commissioner Vinay Kumar Choubey said they would video-track each candidate. “There are candidates who are backed by various political parties. Hence, a team of three videographers will be tracking each candidate on the campaign trail and also when they are not campaigning. This is to ensure transparency,” Choubey said.
As for security arrangements, all 55 wards under RMC will be divided into 90 patrolling zones to be manned by magistrates and policemen.
The candidates looked elated. “I will go for door-to-door campaigning. My priority is to address local issues like supply of clean water and parking facilities,” said BJP-backed Asha Lakra.