The Election Commission on Tuesday cautioned Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar against misuse of official machinery for political purposes in violation of the Model Code of Conduct.
The action against Mr. Sarkar was taken at a meeting of the Election Commission chaired by Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath here, after discussing the issue and the chief minister’s reply to the allegations against him.
Mr. Sarkar was accused of giving an interview to a cable television channel on January 15 in his office in the Secretariat, where he made political comments praising his government and criticised the Opposition.
“The Commission has considered the reply submitted by you and has concluded that you had given the interview in your office on 15.1.2013...wherein, you had made political comments praising your government and making comments against the Opposition.
“The above action on your part amounts to using your official infrastructure for political purpose which is not allowed under the provisions of Model Code of Conduct... The Commission has decided to caution you to be more careful in future,” an EC order said.
Considering the interview as a violation of the Model Code of Conduct, which was in force at the time, the Congress had complained to the EC who asked Mr. Sarkar to explain his position.
Tripura goes to polls on February 14 to elect its 60-member assembly. The Model Code of Conduct was enforced in the state on January 11, the day the poll body announced the schedule for elections.
The Commission had obtained a copy of the CD of the interview given by Mr. Sarkar and had asked him to give his comments on the complaint by January 30, before taking action in the matter.