The Panchayat Raj and Rural Development department drew flak from the Election Commission of India for releasing orders sanctioning a grant of ₹250 crore to local bodies in violation of the provisions of model code of conduct (MCC) that is in force in the State for elections to the Legislative Council from local bodies constituency (LAC) on Friday.
The Election Commission took a serious view of the GO issued by Panchayat Raj commissioner regarding release of grant to zilla and mandal parishads in violation of the code. Chief Electoral Officer Shashank Goel asked the Panchayat Raj secretary to furnish a report within a day over orders issued during the ongoing MCC in respect of polls to five seats of the constituency without the consent of the office of the Chief Electoral Officer or the ECI.
The ECI, in its orders issued on December 6, asked the official to treat the matter as “most urgent”. Panchayat Raj secretary Sandeep Kumar Sultania was, however, not available for his comment on whether the department had submitted its report and explanation on the order.
This is the second instance of the EC snubbing the State Government since the model code of conduct became operational from November 9 when the schedule for elections to the Legislative Council from the constituency was released. All the elected representative of urban and rural local bodies are voters of the constituency. Earlier, Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar released orders on November 17 enhancing the honorarium being paid to elected local representatives by 30 per cent.
Following complaints lodged against the development, the EC was said to have asked the Chief Secretary to furnish an explanation. The order was however withdrawn the next day without giving any reasons.