Not willing to be part of controversy over Bharat Ratna to Sachin Tendulkar, the Election Commission has rejected a petition of an RTI activist to initiate action against the UPA government for model code violation by announcing the highest civilian order for Sachin Tendulkar in the midst of assembly polls.
In a communication to activist Dev Ashish Bhattacharya, the commission said that conferring Bharat Ratna to people belonging to non-poll going states does not amount to violation of the model code, resting the controversy over the awarding of the honour.
The code, also called the gentlemen’s agreement between the political parties, prohibits making announcements which can influence the voters and disturb the electoral level playing field. It does not prohibit the government for announcing programmes and policies for non poll bound states.
“…during the election period, the normal functioning of the government does not come to a standstill,” the commission said, in a response to the Bhattacharya’s seeking action against the government for conferring highest civilian award to the legendary cricketer who recently retired from the sport.
The petitioner had claimed that declaring Bharat Ratna for Tendulkar during elections was aimed to influence the voters in favour of the ruling party and could have disturbed the level playing field. He also claimed that it was evident from the EC’s reply that the government did not take prior approval of the commission before making the announcement.