EC asks Jaya to stop freebie distribution

EC asks Jaya to stop freebie distribution

Just hours after the announcement of the poll dates and the model code of conduct, the Election Commission has cracked its whip on All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s (AIADMK) freebie distribution.

It has asked Chief Minister Jayalalitha’s party and concerned authorities across the state to stop distributing giveaways, including mixer grinders, electric fans and laptops, till after the elections.

“We have issued orders to all the district collectors to ensure that there is no freebie distribution till the election process is over,” Chief Electoral Officer Praveen Kumar said here.

He said officials would face severe disciplinary action if they were found to have aided any free distribution. 

In the 2011 Assembly polls, the Jayalalitha-led AIDMK had in its election manifesto offered distribution of free mixer-grinders, laptops and even milch cows and goats.

The Election Commission also asked the party to remove all photographs of Jayalalitha in "Amma" canteens, which supplies food for subsidised rates.

Additionally, it asked the party to stop selling “Amma” mineral water, which comes with the AIADMK chief’s picture on the bottle label.

The Election Commission is also likely to take a call on removing the AIADMK symbol from government buses. Tamil Nadu will go on polls on April 24 for 39 seats. “We have written on this subject to the Chief Election Commissioner. We are waiting for the reply,” Praveen Kumar said.

Schools have been instructed not to distribute free laptops to students, Kumar said.

The CEO also said the ministries and other authorities should not announce, among others, any financial grants in any form or promise construction of roads and provision of drinking water facilities.

No ad-hoc appointments in government and Public Undertakings which “may have the effect of influencing voters in favour of the party in power” must be made, he said.

“Further, the ministers shall not combine their official visit with electioneering work and shall not make use of official machinery or personnel during electioneering,” he added.

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