EC notice to Telangana minister for violation of model code

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Friday issued a notice to Telangana’s Energy Minister G. Jagadish Reddy for violation of model code of conduct during campaigning for by-election to Munugode Assembly seat.

The poll panel has asked Reddy to explain his stand with regard to a speech made by him by 3 p.m. on Saturday. The ECI made it clear that if he fails to submit the explanation, a decision will be taken without any further reference to him.

The ECI had received a complaint from BJP leader K. Dileep Kumar that the minister in his speech during campaigning in Munugode had stated that if people do not vote for the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) candidate, all the welfare schemes will be stopped.

The Commission had sent the complaint to the Chief Electoral Officer of Telangana, directing him to submit a factual report. The District Election Officer (DEO) of Nalgonda then provided a transcript of the speech made by Reddy along with the report.

The notice referred to the transcript.

“The election is not between Kusukuntla Prabhakar Reddy and Rajagopal Reddy, it is the election for whether to continue the pension of Rs 2,000, whether to continue Rythu Bandhu, whether to continue 24-hour free electricity, whether to continue the Rs 3,000 pension for physically challenged persons — the people who are willing for continuation of these schemes should vote for car (TRS party symbol) and may stand with KCR. Modi Ji said no to Rs 3,000 pension, KCR said he would definitely give it. If anyone is not interested in pension, they can vote for Modi, if anyone wants the schemes, he should vote for KCR,” the minister had said.

Under the model code of conduct, all parties and candidates shall scrupulously avoid all activities which are corrupt practices and offences under the election law, such as bribing of voters, intimidation of voters etc.

The Commission, prima facie, is of the opinion that by making such statements, the minister violated the provisions of the model code of conduct.

Polling for the by-election to Munugode seat is scheduled on November 3. The bypoll was necessitated by the resignation of Rajagopal Reddy, who quit the Congress and joined the BJP.

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