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Among the many things that get politicians into a twist during election season, the model code of conduct ranks at the very top. In Maharashtra, where elections are set to be announced, politicians are running helter skelter to get files cleared before the model code comes into force. Secretaries, personal assistants, ministers, MLAs can all be seen, sprinting with files through the Mantralaya, the state government headquarters, usually a picture of idle calm.

The staff canteen located within Mantralaya premises is spilling over with visitors who have come to get their files cleared. On the other hand, employee visits to the canteen have dwindled because they are all, you guessed it, clearing files. There are serpentine queues in front of offices of ministers and bureaucrats but locating anyone has become almost impossible.

“The Chief Minister and his ministers are clearing files without even reading them,” says Nitin Gadkari, BJP state president.