Bharat Ratna for Sachin Tendulkar, Rao violates code of conduct, says activist
An activist has written to the Election Commission of India, asking it to act against the Congress-led UPA-2 government for violating the election code of conduct by announcing the Bharat Ratna awards for former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and scientist CNR Rao. Information activist, Dev Bhattacharya of Noida, said that the government acted in haste to announce the decision to influence voters in favour of the Congress.
In an unprecedented move, the Centre altered rules last week to award the highest civilian honour to Tendulkar. The announcement on Saturday, November 16, came at an emotional time for millions of Indians as it was the day Tendulkar retired from the sport.
“When the government had to appoint a Lokayukta for Delhi, they deferred the appointment of the watchdog against corruption citing model code of conduct as a reason. But when the same government gets an opportunity to appease Sachin’s fans to vote for the Congress party, the government declared Bharat Ratna for Sachin in haste and in violation of the model code of conduct,” said Bhattacharya in a letter to the Commission.
He said that the announcement of the honour for Dr Rao will influence intellectuals, and noted that this is the first time in the country’s history that the decision to award the honour has been made during ongoing elections.
He asked that the Commission take suitable action against the government as well as strike down on the its decision to award the honour. “The government has made mockery of the standards of election ethics and the Election Commission is certainly expected to take necessary action to provide an equal battlefield to all political parties to contest the election,” wrote Bhattacharya.