EC relaxes poll code in Karnataka

EC relaxes poll code in Karnataka

The  Election Commission (EC) has relaxed the model code of conduct (MCC), allowing the State government to resume official tours, inspections and review meetings.

The EC permission in writing to relax the MCC was received by Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Karnataka Anil Kumar Jha on Tuesday, and it has been forwarded to Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee. The go ahead  was received on Monday evening, and it has come into effect from Tuesday. It is learnt the MCC has been relaxed in Kerala too.

Jha said the conditional relaxation permits the ministers and MLAs to re-start their official tours and inspections. They may  tour in connection with departmental and constituency work. It has also allowed the ministers to conduct departmental review meetings.

“However, the 28 Returning Officers and the Assistant Returning Officers (AROs) who will be involved in poll duty cannot be, under any circumstances, summoned to any meeting,” said Jha.

It is said that most of the ROs across the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies where elections were held on April 17 and results are due, are Deputy Commissioners (DC) of the respective districts, barring Chikkodi where the RO is the Zilla Panchayat secretary.

Vehicles

The use of official vehicles has also been relaxed. Earlier, the EC had restricted their use to office and home drops. Other vehicles, including those owned by the various departments,were kept under EC surveillance and deployed for election work.

With polling over and the MCC being relaxed, the 7000-odd vehicles have been returned to the parent departments. Ministers too may now utilise government vehicles for tours and inspections.

Fresh recruitment exercise, however, will require special permission from the EC. The same applies to official transfers.

Jha said that his office is seeking clarifications on generic concerns of the government, including sanction of new tenders and projects, from the EC.

“According to EC guidelines, the government may proceed with on-going projects. However, it has remained silent on whether fresh tenders may be sanctioned for works which are part of on-going largescale projects,” he said.

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