The Election Commission has issued a notice to the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre over the felicitation of sportspersons from the northeast region, including five from poll-bound Manipur, saying it could be in violation of the model code of conduct.
Manipur will vote in a two-phase assembly election on March 4 and 8 and the electoral model code of conduct came into force on January 4. Votes will be counted on March 11.
In the notice issued on Thursday to the Union ministry of home affairs and the department of development of northeast region, the EC asked why it was not consulted before the felicitation of the sportspersons.
The poll panel also said such events could give an upper hand to the party in power during elections and disturb the level playing field.
The event was organised on February 28 where 11 sportspersons from the region were honoured for participating in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
From Manipur, Indian women hockey captain P Sushila Chanu, L Bombayla Devi (archery), K Chinglensan Singh and K Kothajit Singh (men’s hockey) and Saikhom Mirabai Chanu (weightlifting) were awarded.
Minister of state for development of north-eastern region Jitendra Singh and the minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju were also present at the event.
The ministries have to respond to the show cause notice by Saturday.