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In setback to K Chandrashekar Rao, Election Commission fast-tracks poll code of conduct for Telangana

The election commission’s decision comes just days after the Congress criticised caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s son and IT minister KT Rama Rao’s participation at an event on Tuesday to launch the second phase of Hyderabad metro rail project.

india Updated: Sep 27, 2018 20:00 IST
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
Telangana elections,Model code of conduct,KCR
This means that neither the caretaker state government nor the central government can announce any new schemes, projects, for the state where the assembly has been dissolved.(PTI File Photo)

The model code of conduct restrictions on ruling parties come into force as soon as a state assembly is prematurely dissolved, the Election Commission decided on Thursday in a move that is seen as a setback to Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao. The Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief had earlier this month dissolved the state assembly about nine months before its term was to end. Rao continues as a caretaker chief minister.

This means that neither the caretaker state government nor the central government can announce any new schemes, projects, for the state where the assembly has been dissolved. Also, the caretaker chief minister and other ministers cannot use official resources for any non-official purposes, combine official visit with electioneering work.

The commission has based its decision on a Supreme Court verdict in 1994, which made it clear that caretaker governments should “merely” carry on the day-to-day government and “desist from taking any major policy decision”.

Ministers are also barred from participating in events to launch projects or lay foundation stones, promise new projects or make ad-hoc appointments that could give the ruling party an unfair advantage.

The election commission’s decision comes just days after the Congress criticised caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s son and IT minister KT Rama Rao’s participation at an event on Tuesday to launch the second phase of Hyderabad metro rail project.

Secunderabad MP Bandaru Dattatreya, who also took a short ride in the metro, however, got down somewhere in between in protest against the “indifferent attitude” of the metro rail company for not displaying the prime minister’s photograph at the inaugural function.

The election commission directive will apply to the central government as well.

Rao had described his decision to dissolve the state assembly as a “sacrifice” but was widely perceived to have opted for early elections to attempt to fight a possible Congress-Telugu Desam Party alliance in the state on his own terms and timing.

First Published: Sep 27, 2018 19:37 IST