Sonowal, Himanta violating poll code in name of tackling COVID: Oppn to EC

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Guwahati, Apr 25 (PTI) The Congress-led 'Grand Alliance' on Sunday alleged Model Code of Conduct (MCC) violation by Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in the name of COVID-19 management, urging the Election Commission to bar them from travelling to different districts to hold meetings.

In a complaint to the Chief Election Commissioner, the 10-party opposition grouping said the MCC is still in force in Assam and it will continue till the declaration of the poll results on May 2, making the status of the BJP-led government only a caretaker government.

'But the Chief Minister and Health and Finance Minister are deliberately violating the MCC of the Election Commission of India. Since 23rd April 2021, Sarbananda Sonowal is visiting number of districts like Nagaon, Morigaon, Majuli etc and holding discussions there with the officials of different departments,' it said.

Similarly, Sarma and Minister of State for Health Pijush Hazarika are also visiting separately to some districts like Nagaon, Morigaon and Dima Hasao and holding meetings with government officials there, the complaint stated.

'This is not only violating the MCC of the ECI, but also grossly violates the Covid protocol,' the letter claimed, adding that Sarma has announced many government policies related to the management of the pandemic in the state.

The Grand Alliance stressed that in this political transition period of the caretaker government, no minister should visit districts, hold official meetings and announce any policy matter.

Referring to some reports of 'manipulation and looting' of EVMs from strong rooms, the signatories of the 10 parties claimed that frequent visits by Sonowal and Sarma have created doubt in the minds of the public.

'Therefore, we urge upon you to restrain the Chief Minister, Health and Finance Minister or any other minister of Assam government to make official visit to any place,' the complaint to the CEC said.

It also urged the EC to bar the duo from making any official comment on policy matters in the interest of maintaining transparency and strict compliance to the MCC.

The Congress, which was in power for 15 years in Assam since 2001, formed the 'Grand Alliance' with AIUDF, BPF, CPI (M), CPI, CPI(ML), Anchalik Gana Morcha (AGM), RJD, Adivasi National Party (ANP) and Jimochayan (Deori) Peoples Party (JPP) to fight the Assembly election against the BJP-led NDA.

Assembly elections for 126 seats in Assam took place in three phases -- March 27, April 1 and April 6. PTI TR SOM SOM