In a significant development, the Election Commission (EC) has directed the Telangana government to suspend all disbursements under the Rythu Bandhu Scheme for rabi crops, following a breach of the model code of conduct by a state minister. The EC specified that no disbursement would be allowed until the Model Code of Conduct in Telangana no longer applies in any form.
The setback for K Chandrashekar Rao’s Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) comes after a state minister violated model code provisions by publicly announcing the financial aid disbursement. The EC had initially granted permission for the disbursement during the model code of conduct period, with the condition that it should not be publicized.
Telangana is set to go to the polls on November 30, and the EC had permitted the state government to disburse the rabi instalment during the model code of conduct period for specific reasons. However, the violation prompted the EC to withdraw its approval, signaling a significant turn of events.
The state finance minister’s public announcement regarding the release of rabi instalments played a pivotal role in the EC’s decision. The minister reportedly stated that the disbursement would occur promptly, even before farmers finish their breakfast and tea.
On Sunday, the Congress raised concerns about potential misuse of the EC’s approval by BRS leaders, urging the Chief Election Commissioner to restrict the BRS from mentioning the Rythu Bandhu disbursement in their poll campaign. The Congress alleged that BRS leaders were using the EC’s nod as a tool to influence voters.
In response to the EC’s initial clearance on November 24, the state government had announced plans to use the Direct Benefit Transfer method to deposit funds into farmers’ bank accounts due to bank holidays and EC directives. The state agriculture department estimated that 70 lakh farmers would benefit from the Rythu Bandhu Scheme during this Yasangi (rabi) season.
The EC’s decision to suspend disbursements under the Rythu Bandhu Scheme underscores the importance of upholding the model code of conduct during the election period, emphasizing the need for fair and impartial electoral practices.