State urges EC to ease poll code

Prolonged model code of conduct will affect administration, CS says
Last Updated 19 April 2014, 21:13 IST

Worried that the administration will be affected due to the prolonged model code of conduct (MCC), Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee on Saturday urged the Election Commission of India (ECI) to relax the restrictions that come with the MCC in running the administration.

In a letter to Election Commissioner H S Brahma and Chief Electoral Officer, Karnataka, Anil Kumar Jha, Mukherjee has strongly advocated the need for relaxing the poll code for smooth and effective functioning of the government. Neither the politicians nor the officials will be able to influence voters as the polling has been already completed and votes are already locked in the electronic voting machines in the State, he added.

The Chief Secretary is learnt to have written to the Election Commission of India after obtaining the consent of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

The chief minister and some of his Cabinet collegues are planning to campaign for their party in the states where the elections are scheduled in view of the poll code being in force in Karnatraka. Polling was held on April 17 in the State as part of the fifth phase of the elections. Four more phases are scheduled to be held in other parts of the country. Counting is scheduled for May 16. The Election Commission of India has ruled that the poll code, which came into effect on March 5, will be in force across the country till the election processes are completed.

The model code of conduct bars the State government, especially the elected representatives from taking any policy decision, making any announcement, reviewing development projects, transferring of officials and restricts the elected representatives.
The ministers are not supposed to use the government machinery, including transportation, when the model code of conduct is in force.

As a result, the ministers have not been able to attend to their work in the government. The model code of conduct also applies to all urban local bodies and panchayats.

Lone minister at work

However, Higher Education Minister R V Deshpande visited his office on the third floor of the Vidhana Soudha on Saturday. He interacted with the media regarding the professional courses and examinations.

Mukherjee told Deccan Herald that he has urged the Election Commission of India for its permission to run the government as usual. “It is difficult to wait for nearly a month (till the poll code is in effect). It is not that everything has come to standstill now.

The officials are attending to all important matters on behalf of the elected representatives. But it is not good for the officials to act on behalf of elected representatives for so long,” he said.

He said the elected representatives should be given powers to review the administration and be allowed to take decisions that are necessary in providing services to people.

When contacted, Jha said he has forwarded the letter by the Chief Secretary to the Election Commission of India.

(Published 19 April 2014, 21:13 IST)

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