India / EC sends show-cause notice to Assam CM for violation of poll code

Zoom News : Oct 26, 2021, 12:17 PM
New Delhi: The Election Commission (EC) has issued a notice to Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, seeking an explanation for alleged violation of the model code of conduct during campaigning for assembly bye-elections.

The EC issued the notice on Monday following complaints by Assam Congress president, Bhupen Kumar Borah, and leader of Opposition in the state assembly, Debabrata Saikia.

Sarma has been directed to “explain his position” by 5pm on Tuesday.

Both Borah and Saikia alleged that the CM, a top campaigner for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had made announcements at election meetings promising the construction of medical colleges, roads, bridges, stadiums, development projects and financial grant to self-help groups of tea garden workers.

“The commission is of the view that by making the above statements, you have violated the said provision of the model code of conduct,” said the notice issued by EC secretary NT Bhutia.

“The commission gives you an opportunity to explain your position in this regard on or before 1700hrs of 26.10.2021. If no explanation is submitted within the said time limit, the commission shall take a decision without any further reference to you,” it added.

The notice said that after going through the English transcripts of Sarma’s speeches, it was “confirmed” that he made promises and announcements while addressing gatherings at various places in the constituencies that will hold bye-elections on October 30.

Bye-elections will be held for five assembly seats - Bhabanipur, Mariani, Thawra, Tamulpur and Gossaigaon – after two legislators died due to Covid-19 complications, and an All India United Democratic Front and two Congress MLAs resigned and joined the ruling BJP.

As per the model code of conduct, once elections are announced, the party in power is not allowed to announce projects or promise financial grants that could influence voters.