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EC heat on cash plan timing

New Delhi, Dec. 2 (PTI): The Election Commission today sought a report on why the Centre had announced the direct cash transfer scheme while the model code of conduct was in force ahead of the Gujarat elections.

In a strongly worded letter to Ajit Seth, the poll panel conveyed its unhappiness over the timing of the announcement and said it could have been avoided in view of the December 13 and 17 elections.

The panel has sought the government’s reply by tomorrow evening, failing which it will take action in the case highlighted by the BJP last week.

“We have asked the cabinet secretary to give us a factual report by Monday evening. If we do not get a reply, we will proceed with action,” a poll panel official said.

Sources said the commission’s letter to the cabinet secretary was the second reminder in the matter.

The Gujarat unit of BJP had on Thursday petitioned the poll body alleging a serious violation of the model code of conduct. A day later, party leaders led by L.K. Advani had personally met the chief election commissioner to complain against the announcement.

Four of the 51 districts in which the cash transfer scheme is to be implemented from January 1 are in Gujarat. The government had claimed the scheme was a “game-changer”, with finance minister P. Chidambaram and rural development minister Jairam Ramesh launching it from the Congress headquarters.


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