Forest staffer suspended for poll code breach over anti-EVMs WhatsApp status

A forest department staffer in Yavatmal district of Maharashtra was reportedly suspended for allegedly violating the model code of conduct by keeping a WhatsApp status message that raised question marks over the efficacy of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), an official said on Thursday, reported the PTI.

The action was taken against Shivshankar More, posted at Pandhrakawda, said Chandrapur Collector and District Returning Officer Vinay Gowda said, as per the PTI.

Assistant Election Officer at Arni, in a letter to Divisional Forest Officer (Wildlife) Pandharkawda, said they received a complaint against More saying he breached the model code of conduct by keeping a (WhatsApp) status on his mobile, which raised suspicion over the efficacy of EVMs and created confusion in the mind of the people, according to the PTI.

“Such kind of behaviour is not expected from a government employee and it is a breach of model code of conduct,” the letter said.

The concerned employee has been suspended in this connection and a case has been registered in this regard, Gowda said.

Meanwhile, in an another incident last week, a Maharashtra government employee from Nanded district in the state was reportedly suspended after he was found to be allegedly `campaigning` ahead of the Lok Sabha elections 2024, an official had said on Saturday, according to the PTI.

The news agency had earlier reported that the official identified as U S Dhote, who works with the Naygaon Panchayat Samiti in Nanded district of Maharashtra, had allegedly shared a message through WhatsApp in contravention of government rules.

After learning that about the incident and finding that he was “campaigning” through the WhatsApp message, the Nanded Zilla Parishad Chief Executive Officer (CEO) reportedly suspended Dhote for violating the Maharashtra Zilla Parishads, District Service Rules, 1967, the official said, as per the PTI.

The Lok Sabha elections 2024 to the 48 seats in the state will be held in five phases between April 19 and May 20 and votes will be counted on June 4. 

Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls the model code of conduct is in place in the country including Maharashtra.

Maharashtra sends 48 MPs to the Lok Sabha, second-highest in the country after Uttar Pradesh. 

(with PTI inputs)

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