In two significant developments, the Election Commission of India on Monday decided to put on hold the government’s move to hike gas prices from April 1 and also issued a notice to NCP chief Sharad Pawar asking him to explain his stand on his remarks where he advised party workers to vote twice in the coming elections after wiping off the indelible ink on their finger.
Calling it a prima facie violation of the model code of conduct, the Election Commission of India today asked Pawar to explain his stand the remarks before 5 pm on March 26 failing which the EC would take a decision without further reference to him.
BJP leader Kirit Somaiya, in a complaint to the EC, had accused Pawar of asking his party workers to take advantage of the multi-phase polling in the state by voting twice, first at their hometowns and then at places of work.
In its notice to Pawar, the EC has quoted relevant provision of the Model Code of Conduct, the Indian Penal Code and Conduct of Election Rules that relate to impersonation of voters and the use of indelible ink and has stated that it was of the opinion that prima facie, Pawar had violated these provisions.
Meanwhile, in its communication to the Petroleum and Natural Gas Secretary Saurabh Chandra regarding the gas pricing, the EC has said that “after taking into account all relevant facts, including the fact that the matter is sub-judice in the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the Commission has decided that the proposal may be deferred”.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had recently sought the EC’s intervention to stall the gas price hike from April 1. In a letter to EC, AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal had said that the move to hike gas prices amounted to be violation of the Model Code of Conduct. He had further alleged that the decision was aimed at providing windfall gains to Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries.