Govt plans to take model code out of EC's purview

CNN-IBN
Feb 21, 2012 at 04:46pm IST

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New Delhi: The war of words between the Congress and the Election Commission on model code of conduct is escalating with the latter saying that there will not be any compromise on the issue of poll code violation.

Meanwhile, sources have suggested that the government is planning to take the model code of conduct out of the purview of the Election Commission. The government's Group of Ministers (GoM) is slated to meet on Wednesday to decide on the issue.

The GoM, reportedly, wants the future violations to be decided by the courts. If the GoM has its way, the move will also strip the Election Commission of its powers.

Talking tough on the issue of model code of conduct, Deputy Chief Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi said, “There will be no compromise on the model code of conduct, if needed it will be tightened.”

However, the Congress denied planning to take any such move, saying it was not on the agenda of the GoM.

"From where this idea has come I have no idea. It is not on the GoM agenda," said Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid, however, said that though it was not on the agenda, it could be discussed if raised by some political party at the all-party meet.

"There is nothing on agenda on model code of conduct to be taken out of the Election Commission. There is an all-party meeting scheduled to build consensus on electoral reforms. If some political party raises the matter, it could be discussed but the agenda circulated does not have this," said Khurshid.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has hit out at the Congress, accusing it of trying to take away the powers of the Election Commission and making it "toothless".

"Congress leaders have absolutely no concern on the EC model code of conduct," said senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley.

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