The Election Commission on Monday asked the Congress government in Karnataka to stop publishing advertisements about its welfare schemes and achievements in several newspapers in poll-bound Telangana.

A letter to the Karnataka chief secretary said that the state government did not get approval from the poll panel for the advertisements that were published between November 24 and November 27. The Election Commission said that this contravened its directive to state governments from October 9.

The Election Commission asked the Karnataka chief secretary to explain by Tuesday 5 pm the circumstances that led to the violation. It also sought to know why disciplinary action should not be taken against the secretary-in-charge of the Department of Information and Public Relations.

The poll body’s letter came in response to complaints by Telangana’s ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The BJP alleged that the Congress was using public money to influence elections in another state, PTI reported. Union minister Bhupender Yadav told reporters that such an act is further evidence of the Congress “devaluing democratic institutions and norms”.

BJP leader Om Pathak added, “All election laws and rules expressly prohibit the use of government machinery or funds to run party campaigns so much so the parties and candidates are not even allowed to address pressers in government buildings. This is a case of an absolute abuse of government resources and public funds to promote the party’s interest and run its campaign.”

The Congress in May won the Assembly elections in Karnataka, ousting the BJP from power in the only southern state it was in power.

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