`State government has administrative but no legislative powers while election code of conduct is in force`

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By Paojel Chaoba
IMPHAL, January 11: Post the election code of conduct which has been imposed in the state since December 24, 2011, which deprives the sitting MLAs of their primary legislative powers; the status quo will remain in force till March 6,2012 on which the date for poll results will be announced.

The 10th Manipur Assembly election is scheduled for January 28 and the counting will be conducted on March 6.

The gap of 37 days encompassing the whole of the month of February is the longest waiting time for announcement of poll results in the history of any assembly election conducted in the state so far. The date has been fixed to coincide with the poll result announcement of Uttarkhand, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. It is also the first time that the counting for all constituencies will be held and announced on a single day.

The Chief Electoral Officer PC Lawmkunga while talking to the IFP in this respect stated that the administrative power of the government remains as it is; even though the election code of conduct prohibits MLAs from exercising their legislative powers.

Detailing on the matter, the CEO confirmed that the term for the SPF government expires on March 15, 2012 as the second tenure of the government began on March, 2007 which encompasses a term of five administrative years. “The code of conduct will be effective till the announcement of the poll results, whereas the state administration will remain as it is, till the completion of the SPF term”. 

Lawmkunga further said that the state government can make payment for the actual completed works; can promote officials by convening DPC and fill regular post vacancies due to retirement; deputation can be carried out and individuals can be appointed on ‘compassionate’ grounds.

The state administration is also able to call and finalize tenders of routine nature.

What the government cannot do is, the legislators cannot inaugurate any developmental projects nor use government vehicles aside from going to their respective offices, it cannot publish any booklet indicating development of any government departments.

It cannot sanction grants from any consumer welfare funds or issue sanction orders which are out of turn/PCO/telephone without approval of the ECI or the CEO.

Detailing on security measures, the CEO assured that EVM machines will be kept under tight security measures provided by the paramilitary forces during the long wait to the final counting.

He also added that 350 companies of various security forces will be deputed to cover all constituencies for smooth conduct of the polling process.

“For the first time, there will also be police observers so as to ensure that no muscle power or wayward activities comes to play from the state forces”, Lawmkunga added.

For effective transparency and to prevent proxy during the poll, each voter will be photographed inside the polling station with the ink mark on the finger and the result will be matched with the electoral list bank to identify the actual voter and the bogus one. If certain irregularities are found then there is all possibility of repoll at the particular polling station. He added that 2,357 cameras have been purchased at a cost of Rs 40 lacs for the purpose.

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