The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Poll panel censures Jaya

New Delhi, Feb. 25: The Election Commission has rapped Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa for doling out “pre-poll sops” in the Sattankulam constituency, which goes to polls tomorrow.

The commission has also rejected the state government’s arguments in defence of its actions.

The poll panel had communicated to the Tamil Nadu government its disapproval of the chief minister’s promise to operationalise several projects that will benefit the constituency. In its letter, the commission said the announcements violated the model code of conduct and that it was “constrained” to note that such assurances were given only with an eye on electoral gains.

Today, a full bench of the commission met to discuss the issue and rejected the state government’s defence. “A full bench of the commission has gone through the contents of Jayalalithaa’s letter carefully and it is regretted that the explanation offered has not been found satisfactory by the commission,” said a spokesperson.

The commission flayed the state government for taking recourse to semantics. “Using technical loopholes, indulging in semantics and quibbling between ‘promise’ and ‘promise to consider’ are not the defence that the commission expects from a person holding a high political office,” it said.

The government had argued that the chief minister made “no specific promises” but had only assured the people that some of their long-pending demands will be met.

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