The model code may be eased in Tamil Nadu after April 18
The Election Commission is likely to relax enforcement of the Model Code of Conduct in the State after the Lok Sabha polls on April 18.
Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo said the relaxation would happen on a case-by-case basis.
“The Model Code of Conduct will be in effect till the completion of elections on May 23. But there will be some relaxation by the Election Commission after April 18. There is no clarity. We are waiting for clear instructions from the Election Commission. For instance, the holding of meetings by heads of various departments has not taken place after the announcement of elections,” said Mr. Sahoo.
The relaxation is expected to allow secretaries to the government to conduct review meetings pertaining to infrastructure and welfare projects.
The relaxation will not apply in the case of any repolling ordered by the Election Commission after April 18 or the bypolls to four constituencies on May 19. The Election Commission is expected to permit Ministers to accompany bureaucrats and review the implementation of ongoing projects. Ministers may also be permitted to convene review meetings.
The relaxation is expected to help the government resume work on civic development projects in the next few weeks.
As the election results will be announced on May 23, the Model Code of Conduct will lead to a delay in completion of civic projects. For example, many civic projects on women’s safety have been hanging fire in Chennai. A few months ago, the State government issued an order, giving its nod for development of civic facilities for promoting the safety of women in public places in Chennai, utilizing the Nirbhaya Fund. But the work has not started.
Agencies such as the Chennai Corporation and the Metropolitan Transport Corporation are waiting for the Election Commission to lift the code to commence work on commissioning projects. Development of safe zone clusters for women in 617 crime zones in Chennai is expected to begin only after the code is lifted.