Telangana Elections 2023: Election Commission Asks CM KCR Led BRS Govt To Stop Disbursements Under Rythu Bandhu Scheme; Here’s Why

New Delhi: The Election Commission on India on Monday withdrew permission to Telangana government for disbursements of financial aid to farmers for Rabi crops under the Rythu Bandhu Scheme after state minister T. Harish Rao violated the poll code by making a public announcement about it.

No disbursement under the scheme till the model code of conduct

The poll body, in a notification, said that there shall be no disbursement under the scheme till the model code of conduct in the state of Telangana ceases to apply in all its forms.

It further said that the Telangana minister has not only violated the provisions of MCC but also the conditions laid down as above by publicising the release under the scheme.

MCC rule

As per the MCC rule, from the time elections are announced by the commission, ministers and other authorities shall not announce any financial grants in any form or promises.

What Commission said?

“T Harish Rao, Minister of Finance and Health and Family Welfare, government of Telangana, has made statements regarding the disbursement of the Rythu Bandhu Scheme by a particular time before the date of the poll, which is widely reported in newspapers and local media on November 26, 2023. The Commission has observed that Rao, who is also a contesting candidate sponsored by the BRS Party from 33- Siddipet Assembly Constituency in ongoing general elections to LA Telangana 2023, a star campaigner of the party and also the Minister of Telangana, has not only violated the provisions of MCC contained in Para VII of the Model Code of Conduct but also conditions laid down as above by publicising the release under the scheme and thereby disturbed the level playing field in the on-going election process,” the Commission said.

What is the Rythu Bandhu Scheme?

Under the Rythu Bandhu Scheme, financial assistance of Rs 5,000 per acre per farmer each season is directly transferred to each farmer’s account.

The scheme was and continues to be a focal point during the ongoing election campaigns of all major political parties.

Earlier, six days before the assembly polls, the ECI gave approval to the Telangana government to disburse the Rythu Bandhu incentive.

“The Commission has no objection to the disbursement of Rythu Bandhu assistance and has further directed that the DBT scheme will not be affected during the silence period and poll day in the state,” the poll body had said.

In their election campaign BRS leaders have been stating that Rythu Bandhu and other schemes boosted agriculture and allied sectors.

Voting on November 30

The state is set to go to the polls on November 30. The state is poised for a three-cornered contest between the ruling BRS, which is bidding to return to the hustings for a third straight term, the Congress, and a resurgent BJP.

In the last Assembly elections in 2018, the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), previously known as Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), won 88 of the 119 seats, hogging 47.4 per cent of the total vote share. The Congress came in a distant second with just 19 seats, while the BJP drew a blank. 

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