New Delhi, December 7, 2013
The Election Commission has held that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had violated the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) by promising new schemes while campaigning on November 28 for the bye-election for the Yercaud seat in the State Legislative Assembly.
Ms Jayalalithaa had, in her response to the notice sent in this regard to her by the Commission, vehemently denied that she had announced any new schemes in any of the speeches she made on that day in the constituency, which went to the polls on Decembe 4.
She said he had referred to the various development schemes already implemented and under implementation in the state after she assumed charge as Chief Minister.
"I also referred to various developmental schemes already implemented and under implementation in Yercaud Constituency. I emphatically deny that my speech was in the nature of alluding to different social and infrastructure requirements such as opening of new Health Centres etc. I mentioned in my speech that the requirements for the development of Yercaud Constituency have been brought to my notice. I made a general statement that whatever is required for the upliftment of the people in the area would be provided," she had said.
Ms Jayalalithaa had said it would not be correct to link the unrelated general statement with the requirements which were brought to her notice.
"I did not promise that any specific schemes would be implemented. I emphatically deny that I made any specific promise of providing any one of the requirements which were brought to my notice. I repeat that in my speech I only made a general statement that whatever is required for the progress of the people living in Yercaud Constituency would be provided by the
Government. Hence there was no violation of the Model Code of Conduct," she had said.
After going through her response, the Commission, in its order dated yesterday, said it was 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."
The Commission said this constituted violation of sub para (vi) of para “VII-Party in Power”, of the Model Code of Conduct, which, inter alia, states that-“From the time elections are announced by the Commission, Ministers and other Authorities shall not-(a) announce any financial grants in any form or promises thereof;…… or (c) 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”.
The order said the MCC endeavours “to ensure level playing field between the contesting parties and candidates in election and also in order to see that the purity of the election process does not get vitiated”.
"Therefore, 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.
"Now, therefore, 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," the order added.
The Commission had issued the notice to Ms Jayalalithaa after it received a complaint alleging that she had made announcements of various new schemes and facilities for the area while campaigning there on November 28.
The Commission had said in the notice that it had also seen the CD of the said speech and found that it was in the nature of alluding to different social and infrastructural requirements, such as opening of new health centres, opening of new primary school and college, augmenting further drinking water facility, opening of new veterinary centre and so on for the area.