Ministers can now tour State, convene meetings

The Election Commission has relaxed the enforcement of the model code of conduct in Karnataka where polling for the Lok Sabha elections was held on April 17. This includes allowing Ministers to tour the State and also the country.

The relaxation, however, will not apply in constituencies if any re-polling is pending (No re-polling has been ordered in the State as on date).

Request

Chief Secretary to the government Kaushik Mukherjee had made a requisition to Election Commissioner H.S. Brahma on relaxing the enforcement of the model code of conduct in the State.

The EC has said that Ministers can accompany officers, other than those who were on election duty, and review the implementation of the ongoing programmes on the field. Ministers can convene review meetings of officers at district headquarters, except for the officers who were on election duty.

Darsuo Thang, Under Secretary, Election Commission, has communicated this to the State Chief Electoral Officer in a letter.

Mr. Mukherjee had said there was no possibility of officers or non-officers influencing the outcome of the elections in the State and had ruled out the possibility of them influencing elections being held in other States.

The Chief Secretary had requested the EC to relax the model code of conduct in Karnataka since the elections were held in a single phase peacefully in the entire State on April 17. The relaxation would help the government to carry on its normal development works in the next one month.

The election results would be announced after nearly a month (on May 16) and not relaxing the code of conduct could come in the way of initiating significant programmes such as drinking water supply and power supply, he had said.

Bharatiya Janata Party leaders D.V. Sadananda Gowda, Jagadish Shettar and R. Ashok, on Monday, had urged the Election Commission to relax the model code of conduct saying it was affecting the administration and infringing upon development works in the State.

Meanwhile, Ministers have slowly started attending office in the Vidhana Soudha, with two of them — Home Minister K.J. George and Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar — holding press conferences in their offices on Tuesday.