The Election Commission has allowed the Centre to release the second instalment of funds under the MNREGA scheme for poll-bound Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat with a rider that there will be “absolutely” no publicity in this regard, a poll panel official said today. While the single-phase assembly election in Himachal Pradesh will be held on November 9, the first phase of polls in Gujarat will take place on December 9. The second phase will be held on December 14. A total of 32 reference were made to the Commission for clearance under the model code of conduct between October 12 — when the code was enforced and November 7. The Commission had studied the references in detail and had issued its ‘no objection’ subject to certain conditions or asked for deferment of proposal in poll-bound states,” an official of the poll watchdog said. With eight references, the Central Board of Excise and Customs had sought the maximum number of permissions from the poll watchdog.
“Majority of the MCC references received by EC — 22 (about 70 per cent) were cleared in the first three days, six were cleared on the same day and the rest were cleared in six days from the date of receipt,” he said. The Rural Development ministry had sought a no objection for releasing the second tranche of instalment under MGNREGA for 2017-18 to Gujarat and HP. The Commission gave its nod subject to conditions that “absolutely no publicity” in any form should be carried out in this regard. The ministry was told that no reference is to be made by any political functionary in this regard to press or public. The restrictions apply to both the Centre and the two state governments.
The ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers was asked by the EC to defer the release of an advertisement highlighting its achievements in Himachal Pradesh. Apparently, the reference was received when the Gujarat polls were not announced. Railways was issued a no objection for release of ‘Railway Zonal Timetables and ‘Tables at a glance’ along with two annexures containing trains which have already been notified and yet to be notified, based on the condition that no “undue publicity” would be made in this regard.
The trains yet to be notified should be excluded from the ‘Table at a Glance’ and none of the trains mentioned in annexure two shall be physically introduced/formally inaugurated till the model code is in place, the Railways was told. The ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare was granted a go ahead to broadcast/telecast/publish message of Minister of Agriculture on World Food Day 2017, based on the condition that the broadcast and publication of the message would not be done in Himachal Pradesh and it would not mention the state.