Poll panel instructs Telangana to pause farmers’ aid, citing code violation.

The Election Commission, in a stern move on Monday, revoked the Telangana government’s permission to distribute financial aid to farmers for rabi crops under the Rythu Bandhu Scheme. This decision followed a violation of the model code of conduct by a state minister, T Harish Rao, who publicly announced the disbursements. The poll panel had initially granted approval for the disbursement during the model code of conduct period, with the condition that it should not be publicized. However, T Harish Rao’s announcement disrupted the level playing field in the ongoing election process scheduled for November 30.

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In response to the violation, the Election Commission, through a letter to the state chief electoral officer, conveyed its decision to withdraw permission. The letter emphasized that T Harish Rao’s actions not only breached the model code of conduct but also disregarded the specified conditions. Consequently, the EC directed an immediate withdrawal of permission, prohibiting any disbursement under the Rythu Bandhu scheme until the cessation of the model code of conduct in Telangana.

Furthermore, the poll panel instructed the chief electoral officer to communicate its decisions to the state government and submit a compliance report by 3 pm on Monday. The Election Commission had initially granted ‘no objection’ based on the ongoing nature of the scheme and the historical disbursal of rabi installments during October-January in the past five years.

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