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Election Commission rejects Jayalalithaa's defence, asks her to be careful while announcing new schemes to lure voters

Friday, 6 December 2013 - 7:49pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Rejecting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's defence on Model Code of Conduct violation, the Election Commission on Friday advised her to be careful in future and not announce new schemes during elections to lure voters.

The Commission also asked various political parties, especially their leaders, to scrupulously follow the Model Code aimed at ensuring a level-playing field and not resort to any "subterfuge" to circumvent it.

"The Commission rejects the contention made in the reply of Ms J Jayalalithaa and has decided to advise her to be careful in future and not make such announcements of new schemes for electorate with a view to alluring them," said an EC order.

The EC had issued a notice to Jayalalithaa on December 2 for prima facie violation of the Model Code by announcing new schemes ahead of December 4 Yercaud assembly bypoll in the state.

She was accused of announcing new schemes for development of the area at a poll meeting on November 28 in Kootathupatti village, where bye-elections are being held.

The Commission said that the Model Code endeavours to ensure level-playing field between contesting parties and candidates in election and also in order to see that the purity of the election process does not get vitiated.

"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 the provisions of Model Code of Conduct," it said.

Jayalalithaa had in her reply to the Commission notice said she had not violated the Model Code provisions and that the announcements made by her were general in nature.

"The Commission is thus of the considered view that the conjunctive reference to the specific new schemes required in this area on one hand followed by assurance to do whatever is required for the upliftment of the area on the other hand tantamounts to announcement of new schemes for the electorate of Yercaud Assembly Constituency and hence constitutes violation of sub para (vi) of para "VII-Party in Power", of the Model Code of Conduct," the EC order said.

The Model Code provision says that from the time elections are announced by the Commission, Ministers and other authorities shall not announce any financial grants in any form or promises or make any promise of construction of roads, provision of drinking water facilities etc; which may have the effect of influencing the voters in favour of the party in power.

EC issued a notice after examining the complaint and the CD of the said speech and found that it was in the nature of alluding to different social and infrastructural requirements like opening of new Health Centres, Veterinary Centre, Primary School and College and augmenting drinking water facility for the area, which were brought to her notice and she promised providing whatever is required for the development of the area by the Government.

The EC said that after seeing the video recording that audience present at the campaign speech cheered and welcomed the announcements, and that the specific schemes mentioned by her area-wise in her speech, "are not on the ground as on date and not part of on-going scheme as claimed by her and thus it is not mere surmise and suspicion but the stark facts mentioned above that necessitated the initiation of the action against her for violation of Model Code of Conduct".

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