Hyderabad: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has rejected the proposal of the caretaker Telangana government to distribute sarees during a festival as the model code is in force in the state. The decision comes over Congress’s request  to restrain caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, his ministers and other functionaries of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) from the proposed distribution of sarees as it was violative of the Model Code of Conduct.

A few days back, state IT Minister K Taraka Rama Rao had announced that the state government would distribute 90 lakh sarees of 80 different varieties for the Bathukamma festival. In a letter to the chief electoral officer of Telangana, the EC said it had “not permitted” distribution of sarees during the Bathukamma — a floral festival that is the state festival of Telangana.

In a major setback to Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K Chandrashekhar Rao, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday brought the Model Code of Conduct into force in Telangana. The poll body also said that the caretaker government should abstain from taking any major policy decisions.

The development came after the ECI said that states where legislative assemblies have been dissolved prematurely will be immediately placed under the poll code which bars governments from announcing new schemes. “The caretaker government should merely carry on the day-to-day functions and desist from taking any major policy situation decisions,” the Election Commission said on orders on enforcement of Model Code of Conduct from the date of dissolution of state assembly.

In a communique to the cabinet secretariat and all chief secretaries, the EC said the model code will apply to the caretaker state government as well as the central government in matters relating to that particular state.