The Election Commission has censured the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu for violating the provisions of the Model Code during the assembly polls, saying its manifesto gave no rationale to meet the financial requirement for fulfilling promises such as free distribution of washing machines.
“… The Commission…censures your party and also advises you and your party to be more circumspect and adhere to the provisions of Model Code of Conduct, particularly Para VIII of the Guidelines relating to Manifestos, in future,” the EC order of August 23 addressed to party supremo J Jayalalithaa said.
Though the show cause was issued in May, the order came after three months. In a separate order, the Commission also asked Opposition DMK to be “more circumspect” and adhere to the provisions of Model Code of Conduct, particularly those relating to manifestos.
On May 14, the poll watchdog had issued show cause notices to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and DMK President M Karunanidhi for violating model code, saying their election manifestos do not “substantially” fulfil its guidelines. The Commission had said the two parties had not complied to its guidelines on manifestos. It had asked them to reflect the rationale for the promises made in their manifestos and broadly indicate the ways and means to meet the financial requirement for the same.
EC said it went through the reply to AIADMK to the show cause notice and found it “unsatisfactory”. “… It has been observed that no rationale or/and detail on the ways and means to meet the financial requirement for fulfilling such promises has been given in the manifesto for certain promises, like, waiver of all farm loans due to co-operative banks, free distribution of washing machine, steam boiler, idli cooker for Adi-dravidar and tribal welfare hostels, gift coupons of Rs 500 for all ration card holders to purchase handloom textiles from co-optex at a cost of Rs 500 during Pongal festival…,” the order said.
In its order on DMK, addressed to Karunanidhi, the poll body said that though the rationale and ways and means to meet the promises have now been given, the same should have been given while issuing the manifesto.
In its show cause notice to the two Tamil Nadu parties, the Commission had referred to the guidelines on election manifesto for political parties and candidates. It had reminded the two parties of section 3, which says that “in the interest of transparency, level-playing field and credibility of promises, it is expected that the manifesto also reflects the rationale for the promises and broadly indicate the ways and means to meet the financial requirement for it.
“Trust of voters should be sought only on those promises which are possible to be fulfilled.” Parties in Tamil Nadu are known to promise things such as colour TV, mixer grinder, ceiling fans and free rice in their election manifestos.