Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: The Election Commission (EC) is examining whether it can implement the spirit of the model code of conduct in the State before the election schedule is announced.

This follows complaints lodged by the Telugu Desam that Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy had indulged in misuse of his position by issuing lavish advertisements at Government cost and by announcing a plethora of schemes to woo voters.

Jai P. Prakash, EC’s Deputy Election Commissioner, conveyed this to I. V. Subba Rao, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), during discussions with him on various election-related issues here on Friday.

Mr. Prakash, who arrived here from New Delhi to assess the State’s election-preparedness, expressed satisfaction over the steps taken for preparedness after daylong interaction with Collectors, Superintendents of Police and other officials, through video-conference, and later with the Chief Secretary and the DGP.

He appreciated Mr. Rao for enlarging electoral rolls through a massive voter-enrolment.

As he met representatives of political parties, one by one. A Telugu Desam team led by K. Vijayarama Rao, complained that the Chief Minister was issuing advertisements to newspapers/TV channels projecting the “hand”, poll symbol of the Congress, through a new scheme called ‘Abhaya Hastam’ and going on a foundation stone-laying spree. All these amounted to wooing voters at Government expense, the TDP leaders said.

Quoting Mr Prakash, Mr Subba Rao told reporters later that the code would come into force only after announcement of the election schedule, but the EC, in view of the Telugu Desam complaints, was examining if its spirit could be implemented now itself.

Till a decision is taken, Collectors have been asked to keep tab on code violations.

Members of public could tip off the election officials on violations on toll-free no 1100.

For the first time, mobile teams will be deployed to ensure immediate action on violations reported, he said.

The CEO said all vacancies of returning officers/assistant returning officers would be filled immediately.