Assam Congress asks EC to bar CM Sarma from campaigning for upcoming bypolls

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Assam Congress asks EC to bar CM Sarma from campaigning for upcoming bypolls

Ahead of bypolls for five assembly constituencies in the state, the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) has asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) to bar Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma from further campaigning, citing a violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).

The Congress party also demanded that the ECI take action against Himanta Biswa Sarma.

The APCC filed a memorandum with the Chief Electoral Officer of Assam, Election Commission on Saturday, accusing the Assam Chief Minister of violating the Model Code of Conduct.

The APCC stated in its memorandum that the Assam Chief Minister violated the Model Code of Conduct during the by-election campaign.

“A Chief Minister who has taken an oath of office to protect the constitution and discharge his duty as per its provisions is seen to have total disregard for the constitution and to have blatantly and brazenly violated the model code of conduct while delivering campaign speeches by making new announcements,” APCC said in the memorandum.

“Assam CM Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma made a slew of announcements for the Mariani constituency’s 40 gardens during a campaign meeting. He announced a package of Rs 1 crore for each garden, totalling Rs 40 crore for the development of the gardens’ line roads,” APCC said.

Read | Assam Police issues high alert after intel over terror threat from Pakistan’s ISI

“He also promised to include each garden in the Jal Jeevan Mission Scheme, which will provide water. Dr Sarma also announced the establishment of ten new high schools in the gardens. He announced one school on the spot in Hatigarh at the request of the candidate. Dr Sarma also announced financial assistance to women tea workers’ self-help groups. He also stated that casual labourers in tea gardens will be included in the MNREGA scheme,” APCC added.

According to the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee, during a campaign meeting in the Bhawanipur constituency, the CM pointed out a person in the meeting and openly announced that he should be provided with a house under the PMAY scheme and that whoever is in charge of doing so should do so immediately.

“We are aware that the government has a clear-cut policy for allotment of PMAY houses, and the list of eligible persons is selected for allotment based on socio-economic conditions and approved by the Gaon Sabha under a panchayat,” said APCC.

“The Chief Minister isn’t supposed to and cannot be authorised to allot any house randomly. A CM cannot override official guidelines in such matters. He clearly wanted to give the impression that, as a CM, he is the last word and, if he wants, he can give a house to anybody and gain people’s faith by luring them with such announcements, which is a brazen violation of the model code of conduct,” APCC added.

Read | Assam Police issues high alert after intel over terror threat from Pakistan’s ISI

The APCC further said, “While campaigning in five meetings in the Thawra constituency, Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma made announcements to set up a medical college in Thawra and also to build two bridges over the two rivers in Thawra, in violation of the model code of conduct. The Chief Minister has also been repeatedly making statements while campaigning that for the development of any Legislative Assembly, it is important for an MLA to belong to the ruling party. He also announced that if any sitting opposition party joins the BJP, he will give Rs 2000 crore worth of development projects in his constituency.”

“Sushanta Borgohain, who had won the last assembly election on a Congress ticket, resigned to contest on a BJP ticket in the by-elections. In Thawra, Dr Sarma also said that since the candidate, Sushanta Borgohain, had joined the BJP from the Congress, it would be easier for him to get development work done in his constituency and also to sanction funds, as he would now belong to the ruling party, “APCC said.

In the memorandum signed by APCC president, Bhupen Kumar Borah stated that this is a shocking violation of the tenets of the Constitution of India and the Assam Chief Minister has lowered the prestige of the Indian Parliamentary system, the Indian Election system, and the Indian Constitution.

“Every MLA, whether in the ruling or opposition, is entitled to get their development fund. Nobody can stop what he deserves. But the Chief Minister is openly patronising a system of governance where development will not be possible if the MLA is not from the ruling party. Hence, it seems to be an open threat to the public that if they do not vote for the ruling BJP, then no development scheme will ever reach the constituency,” the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee said.

“Such statements are totally unbecoming of a Chief Minister who is not only the Chief Minister of the people who vote for the ruling party but also of all the people of Assam, irrespective of party affiliation. But the very fact that he has given such statements while being the constitutional head also expresses his total lack of respect, disdain and disregard for rules or laws as per the constitution,” APCC said in the memorandum.

Bypolls for five assembly constituencies Thowra, Mariani, Bhabanipur, Tamulpur, and Gossaigaon will be held on October 30.

Read | 13,120 primary schools to get electric supply in Assam

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