The poll panel had issued notice to her for announcing new schemes while campaigning for the Yercaud bypoll

The Election Commission has rejected the contention of Chief Minister and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) general secretary Jayalalithaa, who claimed that she did not make any announcement of new schemes while campaigning for her party candidate on November 28 during the run-up to Yercaud Assembly by-poll.

tressing that she violated the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) by announcing new schemes, the Commission, headed by Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath, advised her “to be careful in future and not make such announcements of new schemes for electorate with a view to alluring them”.

The Commission’s order was issued in response to Ms Jayalalithaa’s reply to the notice issued by the EC on the code violation issue.

Quoting the Supreme Court’s judgment of July 2013 in the Subramanian Balaji versus Govt. of Tamil Nadu and others case on the role of the Code in ensuring a level playing field, the Commission stated that “all political parties, and more so its prominent leaders, are expected to scrupulously follow the Model Code of Conduct, in letter and spirit, and not resort to any subterfuge to circumvent its provisions….”

On the aspect of conjunctive reference to the requirements of the area and assurance to meeting development requirements of the area by the State government, the EC stated that going by the video recording of her campaign speech, the audience present “cheered and welcomed the announcements”, and the “specific schemes mentioned by her” area-wise in her speech were not part of ongoing schemes as claimed by her. It was not “mere surmise and suspicion” but the “stark facts” that necessitated the initiation of the action against her. The conjunctive reference “tantamounts” to announcement of new schemes for the Yercaud electorate, constituting violation of the code.

The EC regretted the wrong spelling of her name in the notice issued to her on December 2, as pointed out by Ms. Jayalalithaa, and said it was “inadvertent”.

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