The Assam State Election Commission has ordered a probe against chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma for allegedly violating its model code of conduct for the April 22 Guwahati Municipal Corporation.
The state election commission on Monday directed the returning officer, who is also the Kamrup (M) deputy commissioner, to enquire into the complaint of violation against Sarma lodged by the Assam Jatiya Parishad’s Kamrup Metro president Sanjeev Bora and furnish a report to the commission at “an early date”.
Campaigning ends on Wednesday.
In the complaint, Bora has stated that that the AJP, which is contesting 25 seats, firmly believes that Sarma was “inducing” the voters by extending the Arunodoi, a beneficiary scheme, by promising to include 1000 more persons from each wards and by offering Rs 10 crore for the development of each ward if they vote for candidates of the party (BJP) in power.
There are 60 wards under the GMC and the polls are being held after a delay of about four years. The last polls were held in 2013. Altogether 7,96,829 voters will exercise their franchise through EVMs.
The BJP heads the Assam government which has AGP and UPPL as constituents. The BJP is contesting 53 seats while the AGP in 7.
The AJP has asserted that these offers tantamounts to interfering with the free exercise of electoral rights of the voters and an inducement/undue influence to voters within the meaning of Section 123 of the RP Act and Section 171 of the IPC apart from gross violation of the model code of conduct.
Sarma has “vitiated” the whole election process, Bora alleged, seeking immediate legal/penal action against the chief minister to uphold the sanctity of the election process.
Sarma is leading the campaign for the candidates of the ruling alliance, addressing several well-attended meetings a day, seeking votes for continued development of the city or to speed up the city’s development.
At one rally he assured the people of the ruling alliance’s commitment to provide a crime-free city, improved connectivity, land rights, drinking water and open spaces, among others.
In another rally, he said “we promise” to set up government hospitals, provide drinking water to maximum households, and improve other infrastructure facilities in the GMC wards.
Sarma is also “confident” of a “clear verdict” in favour of “all our candidates”.
Apart from Sarma, his cabinet colleagues too are campaigning hard to mobilise support for the alliance candidates. “It is looking like an assembly campaign,” a Silpukhuri resident said.
The Congress and other Opposition parties in the fray such as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the AJP have made the perennial drinking water crisis, a key poll plank.
Flash flood and non-clearance of garbage and cutting down of trees to build roads are other issues the parties are highlighting. Sarma, has committed 5000-8000 new piped water connections every month from June.