PANJIM: Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar finally relented over Alina induction issue and decided to go with the Election Commission advisory to defer his plan to fill a vacancy in his cabinet until the Model Code of Conduct is lifted.
On receipt of a letter from Election Commission of India (ECI), the Chief Minister told media on Tuesday here that it has been decided not to swear in any minister until the code of conduct is lifted.
He said, he has put his plan on hold to reciprocate high values of electoral process. “I surrender before moral authority of the ECI,” said the Chief Minister even as he claimed that it is his Constitutional right to induct a minister in his cabinet as provided under Article 164 of the Constitution.
“It has respected my fundamental right and I will respect its moral right,” said the Chief Minister while citing a letter of the ECI where the Commission has stated that it respects the Constitutional Right of the Chief Minister to constitute his cabinet at any time.
The letter dated May 7, however also stated that “In view of the Model Code of Conduct being in force, and the widely prevalent perception that a prospective candidate is sought to be inducted, the said advisory has been issued by the ECI to ensure that a level playing field is maintained, in keeping with the spirit of the code.
The ECI also cited Supreme Court ruling in Union of India Vs Harbans Singh Jalal and others to reiterate its point that the Model Code of Conduct comes into operation from the date of announcement of the election schedule by the Election Commission.
The statutory election process for Cortalim by-polls begins with effect from May 9 while election code of conduct came into force from April 24.
The Chief Minister said he has discussed the issue with Alina Saldanha and she is also of the opinion that swearing in has to be conducted after the election. “She only kept mum out of respect to the leader,” said Parrikar further adding that he was only fighting for his right. “I fought for my right and there was no question of prestige,” while replying to a question.
The Chief Minister said though he has accepted the moral authority of ECI, he did point fingers at the EC saying it had no business to issue him a directive without seeking his side of the story.
“The Election Commission should have questioned me before acting on the complaint. It’s natural to allow a party against whom a complaint is lodged to allow it to explain its side before action is initiated,” said the Chief Minister indicating that commission had faulted initially.