Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The model code of conduct for elections does not say anything explicitly on fasting, bandh, agitation, etc., organised by political parties or their leaders, State Chief Electoral Officer Naresh Gupta has said.

In his counter filed on behalf of the Election Commission (EC) and the CEO to a petition filed by K.R.Ramaswamy alias ‘Traffic’ Ramaswamy seeking a direction to the EC to take stern action against the DMK and 18 of the party candidates, alleging that they had violated the model code of conduct in the general election, Mr.Gupta said the code for guidance of political parties and candidates prohibited the party in power/Ministers in regard to making tour/combining of official visits for election campaign, use of government transport, guest houses, issuing advertisements at the cost of public exchequer etc. The Ministers and other authorities were prohibited from sanctioning of grants out of discretionary fund, announcing/promising new scheme/projects, laying of foundation stone for project/scheme, roads, etc and making ad-hoc appointments.

“However, it is submitted that the model code of conduct does not say anything explicitly on fasting, bandh, agitation etc., organised by political parties or their leaders.”

He submitted that the ‘bandh’ referred in the petition did not affect the process of filing of nominations. Transport services were maintained.

“In any event, the so-called bandh call by the fifth respondent (DMK, represented by its president, M.Karunanidhi) and the fasting said to have been done by the president of the party did not impinge upon the model code of conduct and hence no action was called for under Para 16 A of the Symbols order, Mr.Gupta said.

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