J. Venkatesan

EC reprimands Sharad Pawar

  • Seize the CD copied if they are in circulation: Election Commission
  • ``Announcement of sugar package a deliberate violation''

    NEW DELHI: The Election Commission has sought a status report from the Uttar Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer on the issue of the controversial CD released by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

    In a communication to the CEO, the Commission sought particulars of the first information reports filed against the BJP leaders responsible for the release of the CD. In case the CD was still in circulation, it should be seized and the Commission informed of the action taken.

    The direction was a sequel to the demands made by the Congress and the CPI (M) on Thursday that the Commission issue administrative instructions to stop the distribution and circulation of the controversial CD. They alleged that despite the BJP's claim that the CD had been withdrawn it was still being circulated.

    The Commission directed that FIRs be filed against, besides BJP president Rajnath Singh and senior party leader Lalji Tandon, all those responsible for the production and distribution of the CD including the actors and the scriptwriter. Accordingly, the FIRs were registered.

    In another development, the Commission on Friday held that the announcement of a sugar package by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar amounted to violation of the model code of conduct when the Assembly election process was set in motion.

    In a communication to the Cabinet Secretary, the Commission said there was a deliberate violation of the model code.

    As this was the second violation, the Commission decided to reprimand Mr. Pawar.

    Referring to newspaper reports on the issue, which was considered by the CCEA meeting, the Commission said: ``It clearly confirms that substantive political mileage has been immediately derived through communication to the media in whatever manner regarding the information of the said scheme and through the statements of Mr. Pawar."

    By making public the scheme the level-playing field for conduct of free and fair elections was distorted.

    Expressing anguish at the announcement, the Commission said: "At this stage, the proposal to seek prior permission of the Commission to implement the said package is a mere formality as the Commission has been presented with a fait accompli. No purpose is served by the Commission in withholding permission to either announce or implement the scheme as the objective of seeking prior permission is not at all valid and relevant as the intended mileage has already been derived through the media report.''

    It said: ``In these circumstances, the Commission accords its approval in the nature of a fait accompli on the proposal seeking permission to implement the decision of the CCEA."

    More In: Today's Paper