The Election Commission Friday extended the deadline for NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar to file his response to a letter seeking an explanation for his criticism of Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s announcement on minimum basic income a guarantee as a poll promise. Although Kumar had sought time till April 5 on account of his travel abroad, the poll watchdog has agreed to extend the deadline to April 2.
The poll watchdog had asked Kumar to explain why he made the remarks while the Model Code of Conduct is in force. Reacting to Gandhi’s announcement, Kumar told ANI: “It’s an old pattern followed by Congress. They say and do anything to win elections. Poverty was removed in 1966, One Rank One Pension was later implemented, everyone received proper education under Right of Education! So you see then can say and do anything.”
The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) forbids the use of “government transport including official aircraft, vehicles, machinery and personnel” for furthering the interest of the party in power, which is the BJP in this case. MCC, which has been in force since the announcement of Lok Sabha on March 10, ensures a level-playing field for all political parties and candidates fighting elections.
“He is a public servant and ideally should not have made such a statement which is seen as working to the BJP’s advantage. His comments have been sought,” said a source.