A day before the by-elections to five Legislative Assembly constituencies in the State, the Election Commission of India on Monday censured Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa for violating the model code of conduct during the campaign in Kollegal (reserved) constituency on August 10.

In its order, the Commission took serious note of promises made by the Chief Minister and censured him under sub-section (VI) A and (VI) C of the Clause VII of the model code of conduct.

Sources in the office of the Karnataka Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) told The Hindu that the commission had issued the order and censured the Chief Minister and advised him “to be careful in the future”.

The commission’s reproach comes even after Mr. Yeddyurappa denied the charges of violating the model code. In its order dated August 14, the commission said it watched videos of speeches made by the Chief Minister and it was found that he has made promises of giving loans to farmers and tribal people for purchase of cows and buffaloes and intention of declaring the district as drought-hit.

The Chief Minister during the poll campaign on August 10 at Santhemarahalli in Yellandur in Kollegal constituency promised the voters that the Government would give loans to farmers, particularly tribal people, to purchase cows and buffaloes if they voted for BJP candidate G.N. Nanjundaswamy in the by-election to be held on Tuesday. Mr. Yeddyurappa also promised to declare Charamarajangara district as a “drought-hit” if voters blessed the party candidate.

The commission served a show-cause notice on Mr. Yeddyurappa on August 14 for violating the model code of conduct and said “why action should not be taken against you” (the Chief Minister). On August 15, in his reply to the commission, Mr. Yeddyurappa refuted charges of violation of model code of conduct levelled against him. Mr Yeddyurappa, in his reply, had stated that he had not violated the model code of conduct while addressing an election rally in the reserved constituency, as alleged by the Opposition parties.

The Chief Minister said that he had only informed voters the programmes announced in the State Budget for 2009-10. Mr. Yeddyurappa said he had not referred to any new programmes or schemes with an intention to influence voters in the constituency.