Cash transfer scheme: EC has not snubbed govt, says Congress
New Delhi: Congress on Tuesday dismissed suggestions that the Election Commission has snubbed the government by asking it to defer implementation of direct cash transfer scheme in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh where polls process is on.
"It is not a slap, it is not a snub, not even a negative comment. ...It is not an adverse comment. The government stand is not being questioned by the Election Commission," Congress spokesperson P C Chacko told reporters outside Parliament House.
Replying to questions on the EC directive, he said that Congress "respects" the Commission's "well considered opinion." "That does not mean that the UPA government has done anything wrong," he said.
The three-member Commission, which met under the chairmanship of Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath on Tuesday, observed that the announcement was "avoidable" during the election process.
It directed the government to keep in abeyance the implementation of the programme till completion of election process in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. The Commission, however, said the government's reply was 'silent' with regard to the justification sought by the EC as to the necessity of announcement of the scheme at this juncture.
Chacko claimed that the circumstances under which the decision was taken by the government was convincing to the Commission and that's why no adverse comment was given.
He also said that the government was in the process of implementing a promise made in the Congress manifesto during the 2009 elections.
Chacko said there was "no decision to suspend or scrap" the scheme by the EC and had the poll panel accepted the arguments of the Opposition against the scheme, there would have been a "stronger" order.
"We respect the EC's decision and take it in the right spirit. We explained to the Commission the chronology of events that led to the decision. That appears to have been accepted by the Election Commission," Chacko said, adding that the poll panel, however, did not agree with the timing of the implementation of the scheme.
"We are relieved and happy that there was no order to suspend or scrap the decision of the government," he said.