New Delhi: The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Friday found NITI Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar’s remarks against the Congress’s proposed NYAY scheme as a violation of the model code of conduct (MCC) and asked him to ‘exercise caution’ in the future.

Expressing ‘displeasure’, the poll body, in a communication sent to Kumar, asked him to be cautious in future while making statements. On March 27, the poll panel had sought his response on his remarks in which he had attacked the Congress over its minimum income guarantee promise. (Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Full List of Documents Required to Exercise Your Voting Rights)

Kumar is learnt to have told the Election Commission that he spoke against Congress’s Nyuntam Aay Yojna (NYAY) scheme as an economist and not as part of the policy body. The EC said it had considered his reply and did not find it to be “satisfactory”.

“The Commission has come to the conclusion that your comments violate the said MCC norms. The Commission has, therefore, decided to convey its displeasure to you for your comments and expects that you shall exercise caution in future,” the poll panel said in a letter to the NITI Aayog Vice Chairman.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi, on March 25 at a press conference, had announced that 20 per cent families belonging to the poorest category will be given Rs 72,000 each annually as minimum income if his party comes to power.

Kumar had slammed the Congress’ anti-poverty scheme Nyay, saying that its cost at 2 per cent of the GDP and 13 per cent of the Budget will ensure that the real needs of the people remained unsatisfied.

Taking an account of the matter, the EC said, “The spirit of the model code of conduct requires all public servants to ensure the sanctity of the electoral process, not to either engage in or appear to engage in any activity that disturbs or appears to disturb the level playing field of conduct of election or creates doubts in the minds of stakeholders about the integrity of the electoral process. Public servants should not only be impartial in their conduct but also in their public utterances, which was found wanting in the instant case.”

(Inputs from agencies)