BYE-ELECTION: Nagaland CEO lays out instructions under Model Code of Conduct

Dimapur, October 4 (MExN): With the Election Commission of India announcing dates for the bye-election to fill casual vacancy in the Nagaland Legislative Assembly from 58- Shamator-Chessore (ST) Assembly Constituency, the office of the Nagaland Chief Electoral Officer on Monday, reiterated that the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) has been enforced throughout Tuensang district.  

The MCC became operational from September 28 when the election schedule was announced and will be in force till the date that results are announced (November 5).

Release of MPLAD, LADP funds

As per the provisions of the MCC, no fresh release of funds under the Member of Parliament (including Rajya Sabha members, Local Area Development (MPLAD) fund shall be made in any part of the district(s) in which the election is in progress, till the completion of election process. In case the constituency is comprised in the State Capital/Metropolitan Cities/Municipal Corporations, the aforementioned instructions shall be applicable in the area of concerned constituency only, it added.

Similarly, it also disallowed the release of fresh funds under the MLAs’/MLCs’ Local Area Development fund, till the completion of election process.

It also stated that any works under the MPLAD or LADP schemes, where work orders have been issued prior to enforcement of MCC but actually work has not started, would be kept on hold till the completion of the election process. However, in cases where work had already begun, the same can be continued. 

“There shall be no bar to the release of payments for completed work(s) subject to the full satisfaction of the concerned officials. Where schemes have been cleared and funds are provided or released and materials procured and reached the site, such scheme may be executed as per programme,” it added.

Tours of Ministers

With regard to tours of Ministers, the MCC stipulates that all ministers, central or state, “shall not combine, in any manner, their official tours with election work after the announcement of the bye-elections.” All and any visits to the district(s) where bye-election is being held and where Model Code of Conduct in, therefore, in force, has to be completely private in nature, it stated.

“In cases where a Minister travelling on official work transits through the district(s) where bye-election is being held en-route to any other district on official visit, he shall not attend to any political work,” the MCC stipulated.

It further clarified that the Ministers or person holding equivalent rank or status cannot combine their official visits with campaigns by en-routing their journey from a place where MCC is not in force and then proceeding from that place to areas where MCC is in force, for the purpose of election campaign. In case it is done, the entire journey shall be treated as election expense, it added.

Transfer and posting of officers

For all officers who are connected with the conduct of bye-election in the state, the existing instructions of the ECI on implementation of transfer policy shall be applied within the area falling under the concerned Assembly Constituency or Parliamentary Constituency. While implementing the policy, the DEO/RO should take case that in case of deployment of any officer from outside the constituency for any election related duty shall also conform to the transfer policy of the Commission, it stated.

While noting that there are no instructions from the ECI in the context of bye-election prohibiting state governments from taking decisions which have state-wide effect, the Commission, has decided that announcement of DA by the state government may be done as a routine affair “but it should not be publicised as the government’s achievement.”

Publishing of advertisements

While allowing publishing of advertisements of general nature in connection with specific occasions of importance, the ECI has stipulated that sub publications shall be restricted to the dates coinciding with the special occasion only, and it shall not be published on other days. The advertisement shall not bear photographs of any Minister and other political functionaries.

No advertisement having any specific pointed reference or connotation to the areas covered by the bye-election constituencies shall be released or published on any date during the period and no new schemes should be advertised in the districts where bye-election is being conducted, it added.