Not violated election code conduct, says UPA
The UPA government Monday said it had not violated the election code of conduct on direct cash transfers and was implementing a scheme announced by then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee. It also said it had replied to the Election Commission (EC) on the issue.
EC sources said that they had received a response from the government and were examining it.
"A decision will be taken in a day or two," an EC official told IANS."
The poll panel had asked Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth to respond to the issue by Monday evening following the BJP's complaint last week that the direct cash transfer scheme was announced ahead of the Gujarat assembly polls Dec 13 and 17 to gain undue advantage.
The government Monday said it had not violated the election code of conduct. Communications Minister Kapil Sibal said the direct cash transfer was the "implementation of an announcement that has already been made".
Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said: "I think the issue of cash transfers was dealt in the budget speech of former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee in March this year and the government had given a press release on Sep 28."
"If the Election Commission has asked the government for a clarification or explanation, I am sure that the appropriate part of the government would provide that information to the Election Commission," Tewari said.
The minister took potshots at the BJP and asked: "Do they want that money of the people should go directly to the people or they do not want the money of the people to go to them?"
The Congress had hailed the scheme as a "game changer".