The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Poll dos and don’ts for Bihar

New Delhi, Sept. 13: The Election Commission today issued a list of dos and don’ts for political leaders and ministers in the run-up to the Bihar elections shortly after pulling up Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar for promising to open sugar mills in the state and offering a better livelihood to farmers.

The elections in Bihar are a process spread over 81 days since the model code of conduct came into effect on September 3, the day the press note on the polls was issued. The commission’s notice is debatable because the Bihar election process will last a little short of three months.

This post-monsoon period is also the time for activity such as road building and construction and of course the elections are to be held during the festival season.

In a letter to the cabinet secretary and chief secretary of Bihar, the commission said ministers/ authorities will not:

• Announce financial grants

• Lay foundation stones of projects/schemes

• Promise construction of new roads

• Promise drinking water facilities

• Make ad-hoc appointments in government bodies and public sector outfits

• Transfer officers connected with the electoral process.

Persons holding the offices of chief electoral officer, deputy, additional and joint chief electoral officers, district election officers, returning officers, divisional commissioners and senior police officers cannot be moved except under explicit permission of the Election Commission. If transfer orders were issued before the elections were announced, they cannot be implemented now unless the officer(s) have actually moved.

In a separate notice, the Election Commission said it had examined a video recording of Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar promising new sugar mills in a speech in Muzaffarpur district.

The commission said the minister was at fault for not observing the model code of conduct that came into effect from September 3.

In a rally at Motipur, Pawar was said to have promised that he will endeav- our to restart closed sugar mills and open new ones and ensure remunerative prices to farmers.

The Election Commission has asked Pawar to respond to its showcause notice by September 16.

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