Fort St George falls silent due to polls, Model Code of Conduct

Secretariat

Chennai: There are about 38 departments and more than 7,500 employees working in the Tamilnadu Secretariat. This establishment is the heart and brain of the government machinery as all major decisions affecting the State are taken here.

The Secretariat, which usually buzzes with activity, has mostly become a quiet spot ever since the election Model Code of Conduct came into effect 10 March.

The only thing which breaks the quiet of the Secretariat these days are the regular press meets held by Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo. Also, there was a buzz when Speaker P Dhanapal sent notices to three AIADMK MLAs.

Another view of Secretariat.

Apart from this, there is not much of a hustle-bustle in most departments.

Sources in the Secretariat said the officials were working as usual and focusing on completing the pending tasks and making sure that day-to-day activities of the government machinery happens without any hindrance.

“Usually, there is a large crowd at the Secretariat as many people come to meet the legislators and Ministers and give petitions to various departments. However, after the election code of conduct came into effect, only very few people come as they feel that the officials will not be able to take any major decisions without the consent of the ministers,” sources added.

Although the elections for the Lok Sabha and by-polls in 18 Assembly constituencies are over, the Model Code of Conduct will be in place till the results are announced 23 May. Until then, the Secretariat is expected to be a quiet zone.

WHAT IS MCC?

The Model Code of Conduct is a consensus document consisting of a set of guidelines intended to help the poll campaign maintain high standards of public morality and provide a level playing field for all parties and candidates. The code has been issued by the ECI under executive powers under Article 324 of the Constitution of India. The commission is entitled to issue instructions exercising plenary powers under Article 324 to ensure that the elections are conducted in a free and fair manner.

Balasubramani Muniyandi