Tuesday, January 11, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

EC bars Bihar from presenting Budget

NEW DELHI, Jan 10 (PTI) — The Election Commission has directed the RJD government in Bihar, which goes to polls next month, to refrain from presenting this year’s Budget in the state Assembly saying it would violate the model code of conduct.

Commission sources said the state government has assured that it would not present the 2000-2001 Budget and leave the matter to the new government.

The RJD government headed by Ms Rabri Devi has also indicated to the commission that since the new Assembly would have enough time in March this year, it did not propose to seek a vote-on-account for the first quarter of the new financial year, the sources said.

Assembly elections in Bihar will be held on February 12, 17 and 22. Counting of votes will begin on February 25.

The state government, the sources said, had decided to present only the second supplementary Budget to meet the expenditure gaps in the current financial year in the winter session of the state Assembly beginning today.

The Election Commission which met yesterday and today, took stock of the situation after discussing the matter with the Rashtriya Janata Dal president Laloo Prasad Yadav and the Chief Minister Rabri Devi.

The state government has assured the commission that it would fully adhere to the model code of conduct.

In the light of the code of conduct, which came into force with the announcement of election schedule on Saturday last, the state government has also decided to suitably recast the Governor’s address which was to be delivered today.

Appreciating the “prompt response” of the state government, the commission expressed confidence that not only in Bihar, the polls would be “free and fair” in three other states, Orissa, Haryana and Manipur, going to polls next month.

“The commission is confident that, in fact, not only in Bihar, but all states going to the polls shortly, all concerned will be conscious that this is the first election in the country in the new year and the new millennium,” the sources said.

It was also confident that “all involved will ensure that this exercise does credit to the country, the parties and the candidates,” the sources added.

UNI adds: The Bihar government has agreed to recast the speech of Governor Vinod Pandey scheduled to be delivered today in the state Assembly following the Election Commission’s suggestion in this regard.

The EC contacted the state government in the wake of complaints from some political parties that the speech was full of promises and violated the model code of conduct for elections.

Bihar Chief Secretary S.N. Biswas, in a communication, has assured the Election Commission that the state government would adhere to the model code of conduct for elections.

Secretary to the Commission Sayan Chatterjee, in a letter to the state Chief Secretary, has expressed appreciation for the “prompt response” of the state government to “ensure a fair and clean election” to be conducted in the best democratic tradition.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has directed the Uttar Pradesh government not to transfer any officials connected with the conduct of the Assembly byelections to be held in eight districts till counting of votes gets over on February 26.

In a letter to Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Yogendra Narayan, the Secretary to the Commission Fayam Chatterjee said today that the positions of officers manning election-related posts shall be the same as held on January 8 when the poll schedule was announced.

PATNA: The Bharatiya Janata Party opposing the Bihar government’s stand on the separate Vananchal state issue, today thanked Governor Vinod Chandra Pande for not reading the achievements and announcements of the government.

Party’s state president Nand Kishore Yadav told newspersons here that the state government had changed the Governor’s address following an intervention by the Election Commission.

Lauding the effort of his party in this matter by urging the Election Commission to restrict the state government on its mission, Mr Yadav said “if the script was not changed then the Governor would have been involved in the illegal action of the state government following the announcement of election dates”.

However, the ruling Rashtriya Janata Dal said it did not try to violate any norms as the earlier script of the Governor’s address and Budget for 2000-2001 was prepared before the election dates were announced by the commission.

Party spokesman Shivanand Tiwari said as the term of the House was to expire on April 9 the government had to go for next year’s Budget.

Holding the Centre responsible for early elections in Bihar, he said such a step was taken by the Election Commission in accordance with the Centre so that they could raise the prices of essential commodities in the Budget.


Noisy scenes in Bihar House

PATNA, Jan 10 (PTI) — The last session of the 11th Bihar Assembly today got off to a noisy start with vociferous Opposition members of the BJP and the Congress launching a scathing attack on the RJD Ministry for allegedly unleashing a reign of terror and corruption during its nearly a decade-long tenure.

“Jungle raj mitana hai, RJD ki sarkar hatana hai (We have to end the jungle raj and dislodge the RJD regime)”, shouted agitated BJP members as Governor V.S. Pandey entered the House to address the joint session of the state legislature.

The BJP, Congress and Samata MLAs continued to shout the anti-government slogans all through the Governor’s speech.

The lone Champaran Vikas Party MLA, Mr Dilip Verma, rushed to the well of the House criticising the state government for its alleged “anti-poor” policy and irregularities in the distribution of red cards to people below the poverty line to draw ration on subsidised rates.

The Governor said in his speech that people of Bihar were anxious over the move to divide the state into two and declared the “unity and integrity” of the state would be maintained “at all costs.”

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