New Delhi, Dec 4 (IANS) The government's announcement of the direct cash transfer scheme was "avoidable" keeping in view the model code of conduct in force for the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly polls, the Election Commission said Tuesday.
Expressing concern over the timing of the announcement, the poll panel also directed that implementation of the scheme in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh be kept in abeyance till the assembly polls process was over.
In a letter to Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth, the poll panel said announcement of the scheme, termed "game changer" by the government, "was avoidable during the currency of the election process going by the letter and spirit of the Model Code of Conduct".
The commission, "therefore expresses concern over such 'announcement' and expects that such announcements during Model Code of Conduct operation are avoided", it said in a statement.
"The Commission further directs that all follow up and consequential steps towards the implementation of the scheme in respect of the four districts in the State of Gujarat and the two districts in the State of Himachal Pradesh, which are proposed to be covered in the first phase of implementation of the scheme, shall be kept in abeyance till completion of the election process in these two State".
The Gujarat assembly polls are to be held Dec 13 and 17. The Himachal Pradesh polls were held last month. The votes cast in both elections will be counted Dec 20.
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had complained to the poll panel about the announcement.