The Karnataka government has urged the Election Commission to relax the Model Code of Conduct in the state so that it can address the drought situation, The Hindu reported.

The Model Code of Conduct is a set of rules issued by the Election Commission that all governments, political parties and candidates are required to follow during an election campaign.

The polling for Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka concluded on May 7. But the poll code will be in place till June 4, when the counting of votes takes place.

Karnataka’s Revenue Minister Krishna Byre Gowda and Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Priyank Kharge have written to the Commission seeking relaxation of the poll code in the state.

In his letter to state Chief Electoral Officer Manoj Kumar Meena, Kharge said that Karnataka has declared 223 out of its 236 taluks drought-hit. He also cited the Indian Meteorological Department’s report, which says that the south-west monsoon in the state will be delayed.

“The drinking water situation is deteriorating in all taluks,” Kharge said. “It is necessary to manage the supply of clean drinking water to citizens and animals over the next two months.”

Kharge appealed to the Commission to allow state ministers to chair meetings related to drought and drinking water supply, and allow meetings with officials so that decisions can be taken.

Gowda also sought permission from the Election Commission to hold meetings with the deputy commissioners, The Hindu reported.

The Centre has approved Rs 3,498.9 crore as drought relief for the state, of which Rs 3,454 crore have been released, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had said on April 27.

The Congress government in Karnataka had sought Rs 18,171.44 crore from the Union government’s National Disaster Response Force. While Rs 4,663.12 crore was sought for crop loss input subsidy, the government asked for Rs 12,577.9 crore towards gratuitous relief to families whose livelihood has been seriously affected due to drought.

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