M A I N   N E W S

EC questions Arjun on quota
Seeks details of advt on Panipat project
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 8
Taking note of the Centre’s announcement of reserving 27 per cent seats in educational institutes for OBCs, the Election Commission has sought a reply from the Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh.

Asking Mr Arjun Singh to furnish his explanation within two days, the EC has sought the reason for making the announcement at a time when Assembly poll are scheduled in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Pondicherry.

In what could be a violation of the model code of conduct, the announcement, it was perceived, “amounts to a new concession to certain sections of the electorate and prima facie violates the model code of conduct”.

The EC has asked Cabinet Secretary B.K. Chaturvedi to obtain the minister’s explanation and forward it on April 10, for “further necessary action”.

The commission regretted that the concession had been made despite its clarification on March 1 while announcing the Assembly elections that the model code “is applicable to the Union Government also” as far as the poll-bound states were concerned.

The EC has also taken cognisance of the BJP’s complaint and has asked the Haryana Chief Secretary to provide details by 5 p.m. today about the advertisements that appeared in newspapers about the elevated highway project for which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had laid the foundation stone earlier this week.

A commission spokesman said the EC wanted to ascertain whether the advertisements were in violation of the model code of conduct.

A BJP delegation had met CEC B.B. Tandon and lodged a complaint, stating that the Congress was misusing state funds through advertisements for election purposes.

In a memorandum submitted to the commission, the delegation led by BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi demanded action against the Haryana and the UPA governments under election rules clause 16-A for violating the code.

It said the Congress government in Haryana had issued advertisements in many newspapers on April 5, which read “Aapka Saath, Hamaara Prayas-Hoga Vikas.”

Many newspapers in which the advertisement appeared also had circulation in Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Kerala, West Bengal and Assam, which might influence the voters, they pointed out.


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