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Harish Rao's overaction: EC Red Signal to KCR's Rythu Bandhu

Monday, November 27, 2023 • Tamil Comments
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In a setback for K Chandrashekar Rao's Bharat Rashtra Samithi, the Election Commission (EC) has revoked the permission granted to the Telangana government for disbursing financial aid to farmers under the Rythu Bandhu Scheme for rabi crops. This decision comes in response to a state minister's violation of the model code by prematurely announcing the disbursement publicly.

The EC stated that no disbursement would occur under the scheme until the Model Code of Conduct in Telangana ceases to apply entirely. Initially, the EC had authorized the Telangana government, led by KCR, to distribute the rabi instalment during the model code of conduct period, subject to certain conditions, one of which was refraining from publicizing the disbursement during the election period ending on November 30.

The Election Commission conveyed its decision to withdraw permission to the state chief electoral officer. The violation occurred when the state finance minister, Harish Rao, made a public announcement regarding the release of rabi instalments, stating that the funds would be credited to farmers' accounts on Monday, breaching the code of conduct.

The Congress party had earlier requested the Chief Election Commissioner to impose restrictions on BRS, urging them not to highlight the disbursement of Rythu Bandhu funds in their election campaign. In response to the EC's clearance on November 24, the Congress accused BRS leaders of using the EC's nod as a tool to influence voters, falsely presenting the disbursement as if it were a personal contribution.

Despite the EC's approval, the state government, in a press release, cited bank holidays on November 25, 26, and 27, along with the EC's directive prohibiting money distribution on November 29 and 30. The government opted for the Direct Benefit Transfer method to deposit funds into farmers' bank accounts.

The state agriculture department estimated that 70 lakh farmers would benefit from the Rythu Bandhu Scheme during the Yasangi (rabi) season. Amidst the blame game between BRS and Congress, the EC's decision underscores the importance of adhering to the model code of conduct to ensure fair and impartial elections.

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