Bengal ministers accused of poll code violation

March 2nd, 2011 - 10:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, March 2 (IANS) The Election Commission has sought a report from the West Bengal government on the alleged violation of the model code of conduct by two ministers after the notification of assembly election dates, a senior poll panel official said Wednesday.

“I have received complaints from a political party and government employees’ union about signing of files by a minister at Writers’ Building Tuesday evening after the announcement of the poll schedule,” said West Bengal Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sushil Gupta.

Though, the CEO refused to mention the names of the two ministers, sources said that allegation of signing over 100 files was against Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta, while Environment Minister Sailen Sarkar reportedly distributed cycles in his constituency.

“I have asked the senior government officer of the department concerned to inquire if there was any violation of the model code of conduct (MCC) and submit a detailed report. The report will be forwarded to the Election Commission’s office in Delhi and if the minister was found violating MCC, stern action will be initiated,” said Gupta.

However, state Chief Secretary Samar Ghosh Wednesday said: “We are yet to receive any letter from the CEO’s office in this regard. If the CEO asks us to submit report, we have to submit a factual report.”

When asked if the state finance minister had signed files Tuesday evening, Ghosh said: “We have to enquire into it. I have received a complaint regarding finance minister signing files from the leader of the Opposition Partha Chatterjee.”

The state’s top poll panel official, Gupta said: “According to the MCC, no minister and political functionaries will allowed to use red-beckon lights on their vehicles and it cannot be used for political or election purpose.”

“But there are security considerations for the chief minister or other leaders enjoying Z+ security. If there were threat perceptions, the police will decide on arranging security cover for the leaders,” said Gupta.

The state government has also been told to delete photographs of political functionaries from the government websites and pull down all hoarding and banners publishing government’s achievement.

“The state information and cultural affair department has assured us that all the banners and hoardings will be pulled down by Thursday,” said Gupta.

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