Tripura CM cautioned for violating code of conduct

Agartala, Feb 6 (IANS) The Election Commission has cautioned Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar over the misuse of official machinery for political reasons and violating the model code of conduct ahead of the Feb 14 polls, officials said here Wednesday.

Sarkar told reporters that he would not comment on the matter.

"The commission has passed an order against Sarkar after a meeting of the full bench chaired by Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath in New Delhi Tuesday," an Election Commission official said.

"The commission before passing the order has discussed the chief minister's reply to the Congress' allegations against him," he said.

The opposition Congress had earlier submitted a complaint before the commission accusing Sarkar for violation of the model election code of conduct in giving an interview to a local television channel Jan 15 in his office chamber, making political comments and praising his Left Front government.

The chief minister allegedly also criticised the opposition Congress in the interview.

"The commission has considered the reply submitted by Sarkar and has concluded that he has given the interview in his office wherein, he has made political comments praising his government and made allegations against the opposition party," the official stated.

"The action (interview) on your part amounts to using your official infrastructure for political purpose which is not allowed under the provisions of model code of conduct. The commission has decided to caution you to be more careful in future," the official said, quoting the commission's letter to Sarkar.

The model election code of conduct was enforced in Tripura Jan 11 when the Election Commission announced the schedule for Feb 14 elections to the 60-member assembly.

The poll panel earlier collected a copy of the CD of the chief minister's interview and asked him to give his comments on the complaint by Jan 30, before taking action in the matter.

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