The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today approached the Election Commission to prevent the government from taking a decision to give an oil field to the Essar Group on the pretext that such a move would be a major policy decision and violation of the Model Code of Conduct.
“Despite the Model Code being in force, an oil field that was put out for bidding in 1993, 21 years back, and has not been concluded till date, is sought to be handed over to Essar Group on a platter on the eve of elections”, party leader Prashant Bhushan said in a complaint to the poll body.
“EC should not allow the Government to take any such decision since it would be a major policy decision, a violation of the Model Code of Conduct and would amount to a corrupt practice,” he said.
The senior advocate has yesterday alleged that the government was planning to give Ratna, a developed medium sized oil field off Mumbai coast to the Essar Group. He said that Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily had moved a Cabinet note to handover the oil field to the group 21 years after a decision to do so was taken during which the cost of the oil field increased several times. Handing over the oil field to the private group would mean losses of several crores, he alleged.
Bhushan alleged that Moily had also approached the Cabinet for relaxation in three gas basins D29, D30 and D31 to benefit Reliance Industries and wanted the EC to look into the case. The party has also asked the Election Commission to take action against a leading news channel for allegedly flouting rules after it broadcasted an opinion poll which stated that BJP and its allies had crossed 272 mark.
Bhushan has also asked the EC to instruct its officers not to restrict campaigning in Varanasi where party leader is in the fray against Narendra Modi. “Several very unreasonable restrictions have been imposed upon AAP in Varanasi, UP. The party in Varanasi has been disallowed loudspeakers on vehicles as well as sticking posters on auto-rickshaws. Not allowing loudspeakers on vehicles and not allowing posters on autos is unconstitutional and it puts small parties which don’t have large funds at a major disadvantage.
“These are some of the only means of campaigning for a small party like the AAP which can’t afford big advertisements in public places and newspapers and other costly avenues of dissemination of information. Therefore kindly instruct the election officers there not to restrict such reasonable forms of campaigning,” said the complaint.
The party has also raised the issue of attacks on its candidate in Jharkhand and Bihar and another alleged poll rigging incident in Gurgaon in its complaint.