Apr 05, 2007 at 08:37pm IST

Poll panel slams Pawar's sugar talk

New Delhi: Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar flouted the model code of conduct for UP elections by announcing a relief package for sugar mills, the Election Commission has said.

Pawar had on March 26 announced that the Centre had approved a relief package of Rs.8.5 billion for sugar exports.

The Election Commission declared this to be a violation of the code of conduct and asked it to explain why the announcement had been made UP assembly polls.

BITTER TASTE: Pawar annoys Election Commission with his speech in Pune last month.

The commission on Thursday asked Cabinet Secretary to make it clear to all ministries and government departments that they have to take its permission before announcing any decision that could impact elections in UP.

Pawar, while making the announcement in Pune, had said that the government had lifted the ban of export because sugar production this year was expected to be around 25 million tonnes and the country had carryover stock of 4 million tonnes from last year.

The annual domestic requirement of sugar is around 19 million tonnes, he said.

Sugar is a major crop in Uttar Pradesh and a relief package will be benefits thousands of farmers and mills in the state.