EC questions Centre's cash scheme announcement timing

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New Delhi, Dec 3: The Election Commission (EC) has expressed its displeasure to the Centre over the announcement of UPA's direct cash transfer (DCT) scheme particularly when the model code of conduct was in force in Gujarat, which will go to the crucial polls later this month. The EC has sought a report from the Centre by Monday evening.

However, the Centre hit back at the EC saying the DCT was a part of its manifesto and was announced five days before the poll dates were announced. Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram said it was nothing but an usual government business.

The EC is not convinced. It has written to the Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth on the issue and said the government could have avoided the announcement before the Gujarat polls. The poll panel has also warned of taking action if the government did not respond with a factual report by Monday evening.

Four of the 51 districts where the DCT scheme is set to be implemented from January fall in Gujarat. Sources said the EC had also written to the government on the issue earlier. The Gujarat unit of the BJP had petitioned the EC last week alleging that the Congress was violating the model code of conduct through such a scheme. Veteran BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani had also met Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath to complain against the Centre's announcement.

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