Parties tell EC to stop Karnataka government’s new schemes

Bengaluru: Political parties in poll-bound Karnataka on Thursday urged the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Om Prakash Rawat to restrain the ruling Congress government from announcing new schemes in a bid to woo voters.

“Some political parties have demanded the EC to restrain state government from making any announcement and sanction of new schemes ahead of state assembly elections,” the Election Commission said in a statement after reviewing the readiness of the state machinery for the 15th assembly poll.

The polls in the southern state are due in late April-early May.

The parties had also urged the poll panel to ask the ruling Congress party to remove its hoardings in public offices, the statement said.

“Political parties demanded that the transfer policy of those officials, who are connected to the electoral process, be implemented strictly,” it said.

Last week, the the state government was asked to withhold the transfers of seven Indian Administrative Service (IAS) rank officers in the state as the poll panel was not consulted.

Rawat, as part of his two-day visit to the state, held meetings with the representatives of political parties, income tax officials, Deputy Commissioners (DCs), superintendents of police (SPs) and police commissioners among other officials.

“Political parties were assured that the EC would put into place an effective mechanism to ensure free, fair, transparent and inclusive elections,” the statement asserted.

The state administration and the police have also been instructed to maintain the law and order across the state ahead of the polls, it said.

“Police observers will be deployed after the announcement of the election dates.”

The poll panel, however, has not indicated in its statement about when the election dates are likely to be announced.

As per the draft electoral rolls as of November 30 last year, there are a total of 4.9 crore voters in the state, which has 224 assembly constituencies.