The Election Commission let Assam Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma go with a warning today for violating the model code during electioneering for the October 30 assembly by-elections.
The Election Commission, in an order, said it is of the "considered view" that Himanta Biswa Sarma, star campaigner for the BJP, has "acted in contravention to the spirit of the advisory/instruction issued by the commission" regarding the model code of conduct.
"Now, therefore, the commission issues warning to him and cautions him to be more careful and exercise restraint in future and strictly follow the provisions of model code of conduct, while making public utterances," the order read.
The Election Commission on Monday had issued a show-cause notice to Mr Sarma for violating the model code by promising roads and other development projects while campaigning for assembly by-elections in Assam.
The poll panel had received two complaints alleging that Himanta Biswa Sarma, in the capacity of Chief Minister and the designated star campaigner for the BJP in Assam, made several announcements at various election meetings held in Bhawanipur, Thowra and Mariani assembly seats for establishing medical college, bridges, roads, high schools, stadium and sports complex, and also made an announcement for giving financial assistance to self-help groups of tea garden workers.
In its notice, the Election Commission had reminded Mr Sarma of provisions of the poll code and its instructions regarding ministers and the party in power.
"Announcement of new projects or programmes or concessions or financial grants in any form or promises thereof or laying of foundation stones, etc., which have the effect of influencing the voters in favour of the party in power is prohibited," the Election Commission had reminded him.
In his reply, Himanta Biswa Sarma denied the allegations on the grounds that all the announcements at various election meetings held in Bhawanipur, Thowra and Mariani assembly seats for various development works and also the announcement for giving financial assistance to self-help groups of tea garden workers were either ongoing projects or had already been announced by the state government in the Budget speeches of 2020-21 and 2021-22 in the state Assembly.
He said no new announcements as alleged by the complainants have been made by him.
The Election Commission also took note of Mr Sarma's submission seeking unconditional apology from the commission in case of any inadvertent commission/omission of any provision of the model code of conduct.
The by-elections will be held on October 30 and counting will take place on November 2.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)