EC Warns Assam CM Over Breach Of Model Poll Code

Guwahati:  The Election Commission on Wednesday cautioned Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to be more careful and exercise restraint in future and strictly follow the provisions of Model Code of Conduct, in his public utterances.

The EC’s warning came a day after Congress’s Assam chief Bhupen Kumar Borah and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Debabrata Saikia accused Sarma of violating the poll code while campaigning for the October 30 Assembly bypolls.

While addressing the public, the Chief Minister promised construction of medical colleges, roads, bridges, stadiums, development projects and financial grant to self-help groups of tea garden workers.

Sarma, on Tuesday, denied the allegations saying the announcements made for projects that were either ongoing or already announced by the state government in the budget speeches of 2020-21 and 2021-22, according to EC Secretary N.T. Bhutia.

“No new or fresh announcements as alleged by the complainants have been made by him. He has also cited documentary evidence of the same,” the order said quoting the CM’s reply.

The EC order, however, said: “Sarma, star campaigner for Bharatiya Janata Party, has acted in contravention to the spirit of the advisory and instruction issued by the Commission vide its letter dated January 7, 2007 concerning the MCC.”

Bhutia said that a Congress delegation met the Commission on Tuesday and reiterated the issues stated in the written representation and also added a fresh allegation of discriminatory treatment vis-a-vis the Congress over use of school field at Srirampur High School for the purpose of holding an election rally.

They requested the Commission for urgent intervention and necessary directions as per the MCC.”.. on the basis of the report of Assam Chief Electoral Officer, it found that the said school field had not been allotted to any political party,” the order stated.

By-elections will be held for five Assembly seats – Bhabanipur, Mariani, Thawra, Tamulpur and Gossaigaon – on October 30.

The counting of votes will take place on November 2.