Assam by-polls: After CM, EC issues notice to Minister for poll code violation

Himanta Biswa Sarma
Himanta Biswa Sarma

Guwahati, Oct 28 : After Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, the Election Commission (EC) following a complaint from the Congress, has issued notice to Urban Development Minister Ashok Singhal over his alleged violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) during campaigning for the by-polls in the state.

“The commission served the show cause notice on Wednesday and sought the minister’s reply by 5 p.m. on Thursday. If no explanation is submitted within the stipulated time, the Commission shall take a decision without any further reference to Singhal,” an Election Commission official said on Thursday.

Congress leader Debabrata Saikia in his complaint accompanied by a video clip to the EC on October 24 alleged that, “While participating in an election rally in Gossaigaon constituency, Ashok Singhal said that there will be no development in the constituency if people did not vote for the BJP in the by-election and that construction work on a dyke would begin within two months if BJP is voted to power.”

EC Secretary N.T. Bhutia, referring to the complaint, said, “It is confirmed that you have made promises and announcements while addressing the gatherings at various places in the Gossaigaon constituency last week.”

The EC secretary in his notice stated that as per the report received from the Assam Chief Electoral Officer Nitin Khade, no permission was sought from the permission cell of Gosssaigaon Election District for the said meeting.

The EC told Ashok Singhal that the party or candidate shall inform the local police authorities of the venue and time of any proposed meeting well in advance to enable the police to make necessary arrangements for controlling traffic and maintaining law and order.

“The Commission is of the view that by making the above statements and conducting election meetings without obtaining permission from the competent authority you have violated the provisions of the MCC,” the poll panel notice said.

The EC on Wednesday warned Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to strictly follow the provisions of the MCC while making public statements.

By-polls will be held for five Assembly seats — Bhabanipur, Mariani, Thawra, Tamulpur and Gossaigaon — on October 30. The counting of votes will take place on November 2.

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