The Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister, DK Shivakumar, responded to the Election Commission's notice regarding advertisements of welfare schemes during election campaigning in Telangana polls, stating that the ads merely highlighted the government's achievements without asking for votes. According to Shivakumar, the Election Commission's notice does not align with the law.
"Politically, we have not asked for votes. Whatever our government has done in our state, there are a lot of Telugu-speaking people here also, a lot of other language speaking people also live here, so we have given advertisements what we have done in our government. We've not asked for votes. We only gave advertisements on the works done by our government here," Shivakumar told news wire ANI.
The Election Commission issued the notice on the grounds that such advertisements by non-poll-going state governments in states undergoing elections violate the Model Code of Conduct. The Commission cited representations from the BJP and Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) alleging that the Karnataka government had published advertisements in newspapers during Telangana polls between November 24 and 27.
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"The Commission has observed that certain advertisements highlighting welfare schemes and achievements of the central government and state governments are being published by some non-poll-going state governments in the editions of newspapers in the States where elections are going on. The Commission considers this to be a violation of the spirits of the Model Code of Conduct," the ECI said.
The ECI said that it has been brought to the notice of the Commission by the BJP vide their representation dated November 27 and by Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) vide their representation dated November 25 that the Karnataka government has published advertisements of various welfare schemes and achievements in Telangana on November 24 to 27 in the Hyderabad edition of several newspapers.
The commission further said that in future, all such advertisements, issued by non-poll-going state governments during the Model Code of Conduct period shall be forwarded to it for clearance before they are sent for publication in newspapers having edition or having circulation in the poll-bound states.
"The Commission has examined its own records and found that neither such approval was granted by the Commission as required under the above-mentioned instruction nor any such application from the State of Karnataka is found pending for decision.
The Commission asked the Karnataka government to submit it's explanation by 5pm on November 28.
"Explain the circumstances which led to the violation of the Commission's aforesaid MCC instructions on the part of the Government. The explanation should reach to the Commission by November 28, 2023, 5 pm. Further publication of any such advertisements by the Government of Karnataka in the State of Telangana shall be stopped forthwith with immediate effect till necessary approvals are taken by the Government from the Commission," the poll panel said.
It also asked the state government to explain "why disciplinary action is not directed against Secretary-in-charge of Department of Information and Public Relations for above mentioned violations of procedure." (With inputs from ANI)