Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal on October 5 took a dig at the Election Commission of India (ECI) proposing a change in the model code to ask political parties to provide authentic information to voters on the financial viability of their poll promises, saying maybe the poll watchdog itself needs a model code of conduct.
In a letter to all recognised national and State parties, the Election Commission (EC) said empty poll promises have far-reaching ramifications, adding it cannot overlook the undesirable impact inadequate disclosures on election promises have on financial sustainability.
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The EC has asked parties to submit their views on the proposals by October 19.
Reacting to the development, Mr. Sibal said, “Election Commission: Does a u-turn after filing affidavit in Supreme Court that it will stay out on freebie debate. Would amount to overreach. Now wishes to include it in the Model Code of Conduct.”
“Maybe EC itself needs a Model Code of Conduct!” he said on Twitter.
In its letter, the EC said, “The Commission notes that the consequences of inadequate disclosures by political parties get attenuated by the fact that elections are held frequently, providing opportunities for political parties to indulge in competitive electoral promises, particularly in multi-phase elections, without having to spell out their financial implications more particularly on committed expenditure.”
The poll panel said it is of the considered view that with adequate disclosures on the financial implications of the promises made, the Indian electorate will be able to exercise informed poll choices.
“Although implementation of election promises could have several ramifications, the Commission proposes to confine the disclosures to only the financial implications of the promises in terms of the financial resources required.”