Tall assurances: Why is EC keeping mum about them? 

As per norms, poll promises must be realistic and mention where the money will come from

Published: 13th March 2021 06:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th March 2021 06:02 AM   |  A+A-

MLC polls, voting, election

For representational purposes (Express Illustrations)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Model Code of Conduct (MCC), which comes into effect once the election dates are announced by the Election Commission, remains in force till the results are declared. But, do political parties follow these guidelines? Hardly. This specifically applies to the matter of poll promises, for which the poll panel has an entire set of guidelines issued in the wake of a Supreme Court order of 2014.

The poll panel has the powers to de-recognise a political party for severe violations of the MCC. However, it has never exercised that power. No party or candidate has ever been penalised for making unrealistic or bizarre election promises. According to guidelines, poll promises and manifesto must be realistic and indicate how the financial requirement to fulfil them would be met.

This is not the case with regard to the dole promised by both Dravidian majors to women for their household work. “In the interest of transparency... it is expected that manifestos reflect the rationale for promises and broadly indicate ways and means to meet the financial requirement for it. Trust of voters should be sought only on those promises which are possible to be fulfilled,” reads the EC note.

When the State is staring at a financial deficit, parties making tall promises, such as the dole, has irked observers. Both parties have failed to explain how they will meet the financial requirement to fulfil the promise, but the poll panel has not acted upon it only because none has raised an objection, they point out. “The Commission will look into poll promises upon receiving objections.

So far, we haven’t received any,” said Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo.  Weighing in on the possibility a serving IAS officer explains: “To dole out Rs 1,000 to 1 crore BPL card-holders initially, the State will need an approximate Rs 12,000 crore every year. There are ways to generate this funds, but that would mean diverting huge volumes of money allocated for other welfare schemes.”


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