New Delhi: The Election Commission on Friday reprimanded Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar for announcing the sugar package in violation of the Model Code of Conduct during Uttar Pradesh Assembly poll process, observing that "substantive political mileage" has been derived.
In a strongly worded communication to Cabinet Secretary, the EC said there has been a ‘deliberate violation’ of the model code of conduct in this case and keeping in view the fact that it was the second violation, the Commission has decided to ‘reprimand’ Pawar for ‘this lapse’.
Referring to newspaper reports on the issue which was considered by the CCEA meeting, the EC said it "clearly confirms that substantive political mileage has been immediately derived through communication to the media in whatever manner regarding the information of the said scheme" and through the statements of Pawar.
PAWAR BATTLE: Sharad Pawar recently announced sugar packages in Uttar Pradesh ahead of Assembly polls.
The EC also said that by making public the scheme the level playing field for conduct of free and fair elections was distorted.
Expressing anguish over the announcement, the EC said, "at this stage, the proposal to seek prior permission of the Commission to implement the said package is a mere formality as the Commission has been presented with a fait accompli".
No purpose is served by the Commission in withholding permission to either announce the scheme or implement the scheme as the objective for seeking such a prior permission is not at all valid and relevant as "the intended mileage and benefit has already been derived through the media report", it said.