Election commission warns Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma for violating poll code

Election commission warns Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma for violating poll code

Himanta Himanta

GUWAHATI: The Election Commission issued a warning to Assam Chief Minister and star campaigner for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Himanta Biswa Sarma for violating the model code while campaigning for the upcoming Assam bye-elections to be held on October 30.

In the notice, the EC said it is of the "considered view" that Sarma, star campaigner for the BJP, has "acted in contravention to the spirit of the advisory/instruction issued by the commission" regarding the model code of conduct.

"Now, therefore, the commission issues warning to him and cautions him to be more careful and exercise restraint in future and strictly follow the provisions of model code of conduct while making public utterances," the order stated.

The order has come days after the EC issued a show-cause notice to CM Sarma on Monday for violating the model code by announcing various development projects and promising roads while campaigning for assembly bye-polls in the state.

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The EC issued the show cause notice to CM Sarma after receiving two complaints from the Opposition Congress leaders--Devabrata Saikia, and Bhupen Kumar Borah alleging that Sarma, in the capacity of the Chief Minister and the designated star campaigner for the BJP in Assam, made several announcements at various election meetings held in Bhawanipur, Thowra, and Mariani assembly seats for establishing the medical college, bridges, roads, high schools, stadium and sports complex, and also made an announcement for giving financial assistance to self-help groups of tea garden workers.

In the notification, the EC said, "Commission had obtained comments/inputs from the Chief Electoral Officer, Assam and after considering his report, including the transcripts, and issued a notice to Himanta Biswa Sarma to explain his position, by 5.00 pm on October 26. Meanwhile, a delegation of the Indian National Congress met the Commission on the same day and reiterated the issues stated in the written representation & also added a fresh allegation of discriminatory treatment vis-a-vis the Indian National Congress over use of the field of Srirampur High School for purpose of an election rally. However, CM Himanta Biswa Sarnia submitted, his reply denying the allegations."

The Commission had obtained factual inputs concerning the new allegation of Indian National Congress and it found that the said school field had not been allotted to any political party.

The EC had reminded Sarma of the provisions of the electoral law as well as its directives regarding ministers and the ruling party in its notice.

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The EC also took note of CM Sarma’s submission seeking unconditional apology from the commission in case of any inadvertent commission/omission of any provision of the model code of conduct.

As Assam has a total number of 126 constituencies in the legislative assembly, if BJP crosses the magic number of 64 alone after this by-election then it will become the only dominating political party in the house and will be able to free themselves from the alliance, with UPPL and Asom Gana Parishad, if wanted.

The by-elections for the vacant Majuli seat, which was left vacant for the AJP, have yet to be scheduled because its representative, Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal, resigned from the assembly hours after the Election Commission announced the poll schedule.

The by-elections in the Gossaigaon, Bhabanipur, Tamulpur, Mariani, and Thowra Assembly Constituencies are scheduled for October 30.

Counting of votes will be held on November 2 and the full election process will be concluded by November 5.

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Edited By: Admin
Published On: Oct 27, 2021