Election Commission Warns Tamil CM of Violating Model Code of Conduct

Election Commission of India warns Tamil Nadu Chief Minister for violating the model of conduct by announcing new schemes to the electorate of Yercaud.

The Election Commission has found Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa guilty of violating the model code of conduct by announcing sops ahead of the Assembly Bye-Poll in Yercaud. In an order issued on December 2, the poll panel advised her to be careful in the future.

The Commission also called upon various political parties, especially their leaders, to conscientiously follow the model code with an aim to ensure a level-playing field to everyone and not to retort to any tactics to gain an unfair advantage. A complaint was received alleging Ms. Jayalaithaa making new announcements on November 28, 2013 at Kootathupati village for opening of new primary health centre at D.Perumap Alayam Ayothiyapattinam, new veterinary Hospital at Minnampalli, Anuppur, A.N. Mangalam, new Health Sub Centre in Neiyamalai, upgradation of primary health centre in Thumbai to 32bed, hospital, new Government Arts College at Valappady, drinking water facilities and other new projects in the district.

The Election Commission has further added that it has seen the cd of the said speech wherein it has been found that the same is in the nature of alluding to different social and infrastructural requirements, such as opening of new health centres, opening of new primary school and college, augmenting further drinking water facility, opening of new veterinary centre and other amenities for the area. The Commission therefore brought the notice to the chief minister that it has seen the cd where she has concluded the speech with a promise to fulfill the aforesaid schemes.

The Commission concludes the notice by clearly stating that "the conjunctive reference to the requirements of the area as brought to your notice on one hand and assurance of meeting developmental requirements of the area by the Government on the other is, prima facie, found to be in the nature of making of promise to the electorate of poll bound constituency." The announcements made are violative of sub para (vi) of para "II-Party in Power", of the Model Code of Conduct, which, inter alia, state that- "From the time elections are announced by the Commission, Ministers and other authorities shall not- (a) announce any financial grants in any form or promises thereof; or ( c) make any promise of construction of roads, provision of drinking water facilities etc."

The Commission reminded the chief minister that the model code of conduct endeavours to ensure level-playing field between contesting parties and candidates and violating its provisions could lead to disqualification from contesting the polls.

Jayalalithaa had, in her reply to the Commission's notice, denied violating the model code and argued that the announcements made by her were general in nature without accruing to any election gimmick as defined in the code. The Commission held that the combined reference to the specific new schemes required in this area, followed by assurance to do the needful developmental work to the uplift the area, was tantamount to announcement of new schemes for the electorate of Yercaud Assembly Constituency and hence stands in violation of the model code of conduct.

The poll code succinctly states that from the time elections are announced by the Commission, ministers and other authorities shall not announce any schemes or grants, of a financial nature, in any form or make any promise of construction of roads, provision of drinking water facilities among others with an aim to influence the voters in favour of the party in power.

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