EC bans Nitish programme in view of Council polls

BJP had argued that event violates code of conduct

EC bans Nitish programme  in view of  Council polls

In a setback to the Nitish regime, the Election Commission has banned the Bihar Chief Minister’s much-publicised programme “Badh Chala Bihar” (Bihar moves ahead), as the model code of conduct was in force for the July 7 council elections.

The Opposition BJP had complained to the EC that since the elections for 24 seats in the Legislative Council was slated to be held on July 7, the model code of conduct was in force. Under such circumstances, the Nitish government should not be allowed organise a programme as it could influence the voters.

“The EC, taking cognisance of the complaint, found that the campaign could influence the voters in the ensuing Legislative Council polls.” Therefore, it has directed the government to put the exercise on hold,” said additional chief electoral officer R Lakhshmanan. 

Conceptualised by Nitish’s election strategist Prashant Kishore (who masterminded Narendra Modi’s poll campaign in 2014), the exercise was aimed at eliciting public response for bringing about changes in key sectors like education, health, rural development and roads so that the roadmap for development for the next 10 years could be prepared.

The campaign involved holding “jan samwad” between the government representatives and social bodies for feedback on welfare schemes.

The JD(U) said the programme was aimed at connecting the people and the government. 

“It sought opinion and feedback from common man.  It’s not that we would have taken electoral advantage from the programme. 

Whosoever forms the next government would be able to get the benefit from this document based on interaction with the people,” said senior minister in Nitish Cabinet Vijay Choudhary.

The BJP, however, expressed its satisfaction over the EC diktat.  “The party’s stand that the programme was in violation of model code of conduct stands vindicated,” said senior leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi.

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