New Delhi, Apr 27 - After representations from several states, the Election Commission has decided to relax the Model Code of Conduct, on an experimental basis, by allowing partial implementation of developmental schemes in those districts where bypolls will be held on June 12.
The EC order came after various states, where by- elections are being held, represented before it, stating that the enforcement of model code affects the developmental works in the entire district, whereas only a part of the district may be involved in the election process.
The Commission has now decided on an experimental basis that the model code "shall now be applicable only in respect of areas falling in the Assembly constituencies/Parliamentary constituency going for bye-election and not to the entire district(s) in which such constituency is situated."
It, however, said that "all other existing instructions of the Commission on Model Code of Conduct on matters like tours of ministers, vehicles, advertisements, use of government guest houses, and all prevailing Commission's instructions...transfers of officers etc. shall continue to remain applicable to the entire district (s) in which the constituency having the bye-election is situated."
The poll body had earlier issued instructions for enforcing provisions of Model Code of Conduct in its entirety with the stipulation that such provisions of the code will be enforceable in the district(s) in which the Assembly/ Parliamentary constituency is situated.
The EC had earlier issued instructions for regulating the implementation of MNREGA schemes, extending relief and starting works in case of natural calamities, drought, flood, drinking water schemes, digging of borewells, fodder distribution, agricultural inputs and input subsidies to farmers.
It had also given directions with regard to new developmental work under MPLAD, MLA and MLC LAD schemes, announcement and commencement of new projects, programmes, concessions, financial grants, defacement of property, use of government property for campaign purpose in respect of areas (entire districts) falling in Assembly constituencies/ Parliamentary constituency going for bye-election.
With the announcement of schedule for bye-elections in ten states, the EC had on April 24 also banned the release of fresh grants under the MP, MLA/MLC Local Area Development Funds in the poll-bound states.
With model code coming into force, it wrote to the states that "no fresh release of funds under the Member of Parliament (including Rajya Sabha members) Local Area Development fund shall be made in any part of the country where election is in progress."
"Similarly, no fresh release of funds under the MLAs/MLCs Local Area Development Fund shall be made, if any such scheme is in operation, till the completion of election process."
The poll body has already written to the Cabinet Secretary and Secretary, Department of Programme Implementation, Government of India, besides Chief Secretaries and Chief Electoral Officers of the poll-bound states of Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, to ensure implementation of its orders.
It also decided that no work shall start in respect of which work orders have been issued before its letter if the work has actually not started. "These works can start only after the completion of election process. However, if a work has actually started, that can continue," the EC said.
The June 12 bypolls involve 26 Assembly constituencies in nine states and the Nellore Parliamentary seat in Andhra Pradesh. PTI