Civil Society' seeks poll postponement

The petition had listed out the AIADMK freebies, including the waiver of farm loans and 50 per cent subsidy to women buying scooters.

Chennai: Former IAS officer M G Devasahayam, who led the ‘civil society’ petition to the Election Commission in demanding ‘stringent and exemplary action’ on the ‘gross violation’ of the model code of conduct by the ruling AIADMK and the opposition DMK, has now sought ‘indefinite postponement/deferment’ of the Monday (May 16) Assembly election till the issue is resolved to the full satisfaction of the EC.

The ‘Civil Society’ petition, signed by Devasahayam along with Suresh Babu of ‘Nalaya India’, S. Raghavan of ‘Lok Raj Sangathan’ and K.Raja Rajan of ‘Nermaiani’ had on Wednesday drawn the attention of the Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi and the state chief electoral officer Rajesh Lakhoni to the huge freebies promised in the poll manifestos of the DMK and the AIADMK, and alleged that both had grossly violated the model code of conduct.

Calling the attention of the EC to its own guidelines issued in 2014 following a Supreme Court judgment, wherein it had stated while the Commission “agrees in principle with the point of view that framing of manifestos is the right of the political parties, it cannot overlook the undesirable impact of some of the promises and offers on the conduct of free and fair elections and maintaining level playing field for all political parties and candidates”, the ‘civil society’ petition said the manifestos of the AIADMK and the DMK violated the guidelines and the SC judgment. The petition had listed out the AIADMK freebies, including the waiver of farm loans and 50 per cent subsidy to women buying scooters and also the DMK manifesto promising 750 units of free power to power looms and cell-phones at subsidized rates.

In his letter to the EC top brass on Sunday, Devasahayam pointed out that based on the ‘civil society’ petition, the EC had issued notices to both the DMK and the AIADMK on Saturday (May 14) seeking explanations before the following evening. “The deadline for the explanation expired today (15-5-2016) at 5.00 pm”, said Devasahayam in his letter, adding that news channels were reporting that both the parties had sent their explanations by email.

“Since the ECI admits that it has “prima facie found that the parties have not substantially fulfilled the guidelines of the Commission on election manifestos, the election scheduled for tomorrow (16-05-2016) cannot proceed unless ECI is fully satisfied with the explanation”, he said. He wanted to know if the EC was satisfied with the explanations and had issued a speaking order and the grounds of acceptance. “If this has not happened, please see that the election scheduled for tomorrow (Monday) should be indefinitely postponed /deferred till the matter is resolved to the full satisfaction of the Commission”, said Devasahayam, who represents the ‘Forum for Electoral Integrity’.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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