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Don’t promise what you can’t deliver, says EC

Neelam Pandey, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 05, 2014
First Published: 01:08 IST(5/3/2014) | Last Updated: 01:13 IST(5/3/2014)

Political parties will not be able to make promises that they cannot fulfill in the run-up to elections, according to new guidelines issued by the Delhi electoral officer.

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The parties will also be required to specify how they intended to meet the financial requirements for the promises made in their poll manifestos.

The chief electoral officer of Delhi has circulated a copy of these guidelines to the political parties, which will release their manifestos in the coming days.

These guidelines were framed after the Supreme Court had asked the election commission to formulate a separate set of norms for election manifestos as part of its model code of conduct for political parties.

This is the first time that such guidelines are being enforced for parliamentary elections.

“We appeal to all political parties to take care of the concerns expressed by the Supreme Court pursuant to whose orders ECI has issued these instructions. We will enforce these guidelines as also other provisions of model code of conduct, firmly,” said Vijay Dev, chief electoral officer, Delhi.

The officials explained that in case any party announced that it would bring down power tariff by 10% or so, it would have to specify how much expenditure the move would incur and whether it would be done by providing subsidy or otherwise.

A meeting will be held with political parties on Thursday to discuss the guidelines. “Once the manifestos are released and if we get any complaints from anyone regarding violation of the guidelines, we will take stern action against them,” said a senior official.

While Delhi BJP chief Harsh Vardhan could not be reached for a comment, Delhi Congress president Arvinder Singh said: “We welcome it and we have always followed this principle. Our party president in her address to the party MPs had said that we should not make any false promises to woo voters.”

The guidelines state: “In the interest of transparency, level playing field and credibility of promises, it is expected that manifestos also reflect the rationale for the promises and broadly indicate the ways and means to meet the financial requirements for it. Trust of voters should be sought only on those promises which are possible to be fulfilled”.

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