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Code violation notice to Rabin

Calcutta, March 23: The Election Commission has served showcause notices on two sitting MLAs, charging them with violation of the model code of conduct.

The poll panel has asked CPM MLA and government chief whip Rabin Deb and Trinamul MLA Manturam Pakhira to reply to the showcause notices by March 27.

It is learnt that provisions of the model code of conduct call for strict action against a candidate trying to influence or bribe voters. A candidate could be barred from contesting elections.

However, chief electoral officer (CEO) Debashis Sen said he could not comment and the EC was the final authority to decide the nature of action.

The showcause notice to Deb is based on reports that he had distributed wheelchairs, LPG cylinders and tricycles to people in his Ballygunge constituency between March 3 and 5. He had also organised health camps. These, according to the EC, amount to violation of the model code.

Pakhira is said to have allotted Rs 10 lakh from his MLA fund to various organisations and implementing agencies in his Kakdwip constituency on March 3 and 4.

The model code of conduct came into force on March 1, the day Bengal's poll schedule was announced by the Election Commission in Delhi.

If Deb and Pakhira fail to send their replies by March 27, it would be presumed that they do not have anything to say in this regard, the CEO said.

Article 324 of the Constitution empowers the poll panel to take action against those who violate the model code of conduct. The model code states that all parties and candidates must avoid 'corrupt practices' and offences like bribing voters.

The EC is yet to take a decision on chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's announcement at Salt Lake stadium recently that hawkers would be rehabilitated on city streets. Labour minister Md Amin was also present at the programme that saw signing of a tripartite agreement.

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