NEW DELHI: The Congress on Wednesday moved the Election Commission alleging that the BJP was "misusing" state government machinery to influence voters ahead of Madhya Pradesh Assembly bypolls.
In a memorandum to the EC, the Opposition party alleged "blatant violation" of all pre-election norms by the BJP, pointing out that the ruling party has announced 'Garib Kalyan Saptah' from September 17-23.
"It would not be out of place to mention that the Model Code of Conduct casts special duties on party in power to ensure that no cause is given for any complaint that it has used its official position for the purposes of its election campaign," the Congress said in its memorandum.
The memorandum was signed by senior leaders Ahmed Patel, Kapil Sibal, Digvijaya Singh, Vivek Tankha and Mukul Wasnik.
"Therefore, as soon as campaigning is initiated, the ruling party is bound to observe the restraints imposed under the Model Code of Conduct," it said.
Collectors and divisional commissioners across Madhya Pradesh have been sternly instructed to organise programmes under the 'Garib Kalyan Saptah' wherein crores of rupees is expected to be transferred to voters and BJP workers with the intent to "induce, gratify and cast undue influence" on voters just before elections, the Congress alleged.
"It is imperative to mention that the announced 'Garib Kalyan Saptah' is not a part of the official calendar and the entire purpose of this spontaneous abuse of government machinery, funds and officials is to interfere with the free exercise of electoral rights of voters by misuse of public funds," it alleged.
In this regard a complaint has also been lodged before the CEO, Madhya Pradesh, on September 15, the party said.
It urged the poll panel to take all such actions as may be necessary and required in law, including directions to the ruling party in Madhya Pradesh, to restrain from using official machinery of state in any manner whatsoever.
The Congress also called on the poll watchdog to take all such actions as may be necessary and required in law for conducting free and fair bypolls in Madhya Pradesh.
Bypolls are set to take place for 27 seats in Madhya Pradesh, according to the EC.
The Congress had on Friday declared its first list of 15 candidates for the upcoming bye-elections.
Most of the seats going to polls fell vacant when rebel Congress members resigned from the party and the Assembly to join the BJP.