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Expenditure statements of state, national parties not with the State office: Meghalaya Chief Election Officer

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SHILLONG, Dec 15: State’s chief electoral officer (CEO) FR Kharkongor has said the expenditure statements of state and national parties are not lodged with his office.

“It is reiterated that only expenditure statements of individual candidates are submitted at state level with the office of the CEO…,” Kharkongor said in a statement issued on Thursday.

This came a day after the opposition AITC national spokesperson Saket Gokhle sought the Meghalaya High Court’s intervention into the alleged failure of the ruling National People’s Party (NPP) to file its election expenditure report within 75 days of the State Assembly elections in 2018. Gokhale in his plea had alleged the failure of the Election Commission of India and the Chief Electoral Officer, Meghalaya to take necessary action against the NPP for flouting the law.

Stating that the NPP was a recognized state party in 2018, the CEO said, “Hence, as clearly evident, the above matter lies well beyond the mandate of the office of the CEO.”

Kharkongor also informed that the RTI dated 14/9/22 filed by the applicant (Gokhale) was promptly transferred by the office of the CEO to the competent higher authority on September 22, 2022.

“It is learnt that as per records, the ECI has also taken cognizance & duly responded to the applicant vide its letter dated October 3, 2022. Further, the ECI vide its letter dated November 21, 2022 has also allowed the applicant to make an appeal to the first appellate authority, with details clearly indicated, within 30 days of receipt of the above letter, in case, the concerned applicant is not satisfied with the information provided,” he said.

Meanwhile, the CEO said his office will continue to remain committed to the conduct of free, fair and inclusive elections, with bias/prejudice towards none. The deliberate aspersions cast appear mischievous, misdirected, misleading, avoidable and unfortunate, he concluded.

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