Panaji: The state election commission on Sunday said that no official complaint has been received from the Congress or any individual as regards Chief Minister Pramod Sawant flagging off the Carnival float parade in the capital city on Saturday.
The clarification assumes significance as the zilla panchayat elections will be held on party lines in the state; the model code of conduct for the March 22 ZP polls came into force in the state, including in municipal areas, with the announcement of the poll schedule by the commission on February 21.
A highly-placed source in the SEC told ‘The Navhind Times’ that Sawant had flagged off the parade in the capacity of the Chief Minister and not as a BJP leader.
Hence the action cannot be considered as a violation of the model code of conduct, the source explained.
The source said the tourism department had obtained permission on February 3 from the poll panel for organising the annual Carnival festival.
“The Chief Minister did not deliver any political speech. So how can you say that it is a violation of the model of conduct,” the source asked.
It is pertinent to note here that the poll panel while giving its nod for organising the Carnival celebrations had clearly asked the tourism department to ensure that political functionaries would not inaugurate or close functions or deliver speeches all throughout the celebrations.
Tourism director Menino D’Souza claimed that the department had intimated the SEC about the flagging off the event by Sawant.
He further claimed that the SEC gave the ‘go-ahead’ on the condition that Sawant would not deliver a speech or make any announcement.
Condemning the Chief Minister for flagging off the Carnival parade, the Congress said that Sawant showed disrespect to the Constitution once again.
Goa Pradesh Congress committee general secretary Amarnath Panjikar strongly condemned the act of the Chief Minister demanding a strong action by the state poll panel over the alleged poll code violation.
Panjikar castigated Deputy Chief Minister Manohar ‘Babu’ Azgaonkar for allowing a commercial float on his son’s night clubs in the Carnival parade in Panaji on Saturday.