Will abide by EC direction, says Assam CM on notice

Guwahati, Oct 27: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who received a show cause notice from the Election Commission for alleged violation of model code of conduct before the October 30 by-elections to the five assembly seats, on Tuesday said that he would abide by the poll panel's directions.

Sarma in his brief reaction to the EC's notice told the media that he would abide by the commission's direction. "Congress never wanted people's welfare. They did not want to set up any new medical college, they were against getting people financial assistance from the 'Orunodoi' (Assam government's flagship scheme). According to the state government's budget announcement the people would get the benefit. But the Congress party raised objection as they do not want anything good for the people and the state," the Chief Minister said when reporters asked him about the EC's notice.

Amid the EC's show cause notice seeking Sarma's response by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, the Congress on Tuesday demanded the poll panel immediately bar him from further campaigning.

EC Secretary N.T. Bhutia, citing the rules, said that from the time elections are announced, Ministers and other authorities shall not announce any financial grants in any form or promises thereof or make any promise of construction of roads, provision of drinking water facilities etc.

"The Commission is of the view that by making the above statements, you have violated the said provision of Model Code of Conduct and the instructions. Now, therefore, the Commission gives you an opportunity to explain your position in this regard on or before 5 p.m. of Tuesday. If no explanation is submitted within the said time limit, the Commission shall take a decision without any further reference to you," the notice to Sarma said.

The poll panel said that notice was served to Sarma on Monday following separate complaints by Assam state Congress President Bhupen Kumar Borah and leader of Opposition in the Assembly Debabrata Saikia, that the Chief Minister, during the campaign, promised the construction of medical colleges, roads, bridges, stadiums, development projects and financial grant to self-help groups of tea garden workers.