Withdraw proposal to amend Model Code of Conduct, CPI(M) tells EC
CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury

New Delhi: CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury has written to the chief election commissioner demanding the withdrawal of the proposed amendment to the Model Code of Conduct on promises made in election manifestos.

In his letter to Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, Yechury said the proposed changes in the MCC were “uncalled for”.

“Article 324 of the Constitution mandates the EC (Election Commission) with the superintendence, direction and control of elections. It does not provide for the Election Commission to regulate or evaluate the policy pronouncements and promises of welfare measures of political parties to the people at the time of an election.

“The proposed amendment to the Model Code of Conduct and the proforma for disclosure of the details of poll promises and their financial implications will get the Commission involved in political and policy matters which do not fall under its purview,” the Left leader said in his letter.

Yechury said the Election Commission proforma enters into areas such as quantification of the financial implications of the promises made and the fiscal sustainability of the additional resource raising plan for fulfilling the promises, which are political and policy issues, and “there can be divergent views of what constitutes fiscal sustainability”.

“For instance, our party is critical of the fiscal deficit limit fixed at 3 per cent of GDP in the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act. There are alternatives to the current prevailing ideas of fiscal conservatism,” he said.

Yechury also said he was surprised that the poll panel had changed its stand on the issue.

“It is, therefore, surprising that the Commission seems to have had a change of mind and proposes to be more intrusive into a sphere which pertains to political parties and the people,” he said.

Yechury added that the commission’s initiative to amend the Model Code of Conduct by introducing a proforma “which infringes on the rights of political parties to address people’s concerns and offer them policy and welfare measures, is unwarranted”.

“The CPI(M), therefore, wants the commission to withdraw the proposal to amend the Model Code of Conduct,” he said.

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