Amid allegations that an agency owned by a BJP leader was hired for election-related online ads during the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly polls, the state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) said that the selection of the firm was done by the state Directorate General of Information and Public Relations (DGIPR).
In a statement, it also said that it was "misleading and incorrect" to suggest that the CEO Maharashtra had engaged any agency on political considerations.
Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan had on Friday alleged that an advertising and social media company owned by a BJP office-bearer was hired by the Maharashtra CEO to issue election-related online ads during the 2019 assembly polls.
On Thursday, activist Saket Gokhale had also made this allegation in a tweet.
"It is misleading and incorrect to suggest that the office of Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) has engaged any agency on political considerations. As per the standard practice, electoral awareness campaign is launched through an agency engaged by the Directorate General of Information and Public Relations (DGIPR) of the Maharashtra government," the CEO said in the statement.
"They (DGIPR), in turn follow rules in force and a laid-down procedure for selecting an appropriate agency for public awareness and it is not (done) by the CEO Office," the statement said.
"In as far as for the specific imputation made in the tweet of Saket Gokhale, an interim reply of facts has been sent to the Election Commission of India (ECI)," it added.
"Meanwhile, some other representations on the matter have been received from some public representatives, which are also being addressed and a detailed response in this regard shall be sent to the commission soon," the CEO's statement said.
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