EC all-party meet for framing guidelines on 'freebies'
New Delhi, Aug 12: In its bid to regulate freebies being offered by political parties in election manifestos, the Election Commission will seek the opinion of various parties on Monday for framing guidelines in this regard.
The guidelines are being framed in view of the recent apex court order which says there is no enactment that directly governs the contents of the election manifesto.
The EC will, in its meeting today with various parties, seek their opinion on the matter before making rules on allurements in election manifestos.
The poll body wishes to formulate a clear policy on defining freebies announced by parties ahead of elections and has invited suggestions from them. The EC had studied practices adopted by different nations in this regard and received responses from eight of them.
The Commission has felt that offering of freebies by parties ahead of polls disturbs the level playing field and may vitiate the atmosphere. Parties have in recent times offered free power, laptops, TV sets and other household items to voters in their manifestos and such populist measures have proved a huge burden on the finance of states.
Political parties have been arguing that the benefits announced were meant for the welfare of the poor and were required.
The Supreme Court while disposing of a special leave petition on July 5, challenging the freebies announced by the Tamil Nadu government, had asked the Commission to frame guidelines about such promises announced by political parties in their manifestos.