M A I N   N E W S

EC notice to Pawar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 13
The Election Commission (EC) today issued a show-cause notice to Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar for announcing the revival of sugar mills in Bihar in violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

The EC has asked the Nationalist Congress Party, which is also planning to contest the elections in the state in alliance with the RJD, to reply to the notice by September 15.

Election Commissioner sources said the commission took strong exception to Mr Pawar’s September 8 announcement about the reopening of the sugar mills in the Motipur area within three months and speedy payment of arrears to sugarcane growers in election-bound Bihar.

Mr Pawar, his deputy Akhilesh Singh and Union Rural Development Minister and RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh had made the announcement while addressing a meeting on the premises of Motipur Sugar Mill in West Champaran district.

During his visit to Muzaffarpur last week, Chief Election Commissioner B.B. Tandon had said a thorough probe would be conducted into the matter and suitable action initiated, if the complaint of the violation of the Model Code of Conduct was found to be true.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has reminded the Centre of the do’s and don’ts’ to be observed in the run-up to the Assembly elections in the state.

In a letter to the Cabinet Secretary and Chief Secretary of Bihar, the EC said the model code stipulated that Ministers and other authorities should not announce any financial grants in any form or promises and lay foundation of projects or schemes.

The code also bars them from making any promise of construction of roads, provision of drinking water facilities or make any adhoc appointments in government, public undertakings which may influence the voters in favour of the party in power.

The commission also directed that there should be total ban on the transfer of officers connected with the conduct of the election, EC sources said.

These include Additional, Joint, Deputy and Chief Electoral Officers, Divisional Commissioners, District Election Officers, Returning Officers, officers of the Police Department connected with the management of elections like range IGs and DIGs, SSP, SP, DSP and other police officers.

The transfer orders issued prior to the date of announcement but not implemented till date should not be given effect to without obtaining specific permission from the commission.

The commission asked the Cabinet Secretary, Chief Secretary and CEO of Bihar to bring the instructions to the notice of the government, all ministries and departments of the Centre and the Bihar Government.

Mr Pawar refused comment on the notice issued to him.


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