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Gogoi threatens to move SC against EC
Published on 25 Apr. 2009 12:52 AM IST
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Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi has taken on the Election Commission (EC), triggering a debate on its power to curb chief ministerial responsibility. The spark came from an EC notice to the CM barring him from taking more than one officer with him during electioneering. “This is not just an order. I do not cease to be a Chief Minister and in a problematic state like Assam, I must have access to my officers to run the state smoothly. That is my constitutional responsibility,” Gogoi said on Friday while addressing a news conference. According to UNI, with the EC hitting back at his request, the CM is approaching the Supreme Court for a general guideline which will be beneficial to all the chief ministers. “The debate is whether a chief minister can be barred from carrying out his constitutional responsibility. The DGP cannot brief me during electioneering. But is that practical in a state like Assam where insurgency is a big problem? Other chief ministers too must be facing a similar problem,” he said. “As the Chief Minister of the state, I have to be in constant touch with the state and district headquarters so that the government runs smoothly and efficiently. There is a constitutional responsibility I have to discharge,” he wrote in a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner on April 9. The EC, however, stuck to its stand and did not allow the CM to carry more than one officer during electioneering. ‘’On April 6, when incidents of four bomb blasts took place on a single day throughout the state that killed several innocent persons, I was badly handicapped as no official accompanied me on my outstation visit as per the EC directive. Lots of important and secret information had to be passed on to me by different officials and at the same time, I had to pass important and secret directions to the concerned officials. Unless any official or Private Secretary accompanies me during my tours, it will affect in discharging my assigned responsibilities and will also greatly hamper the interest of the state,’’ he wrote in his letter. Gogoi further wrote, ‘’I do appreciate the Election Commissions desire to see that there is no mix up of officials and political matters during the election period. At the same time, I want to state that as a responsible person having been in politics for a long career, I had never misutilised my powers,’’ he said.

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