Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath moved the Supreme Court on Saturday, 31 October, challenging the Election Commission’s (EC) decision to remove him as a ‘star campaigner’ before the by-elections next week, PTI reported quoting Congress MP and senior lawyer Vivek Tankha.
The Election Commission of India on Friday, 30 October, revoked the star campaigner status of the Congress leader, citing repeated violations of the Model Code of Conduct.
Responding to the EC’s decision, Kamal Nath said, “Star campaigner is neither a post nor a status. I don't want to comment on EC's decision, will comment only after 10th November. In the end, public matters the most, and they know everything.”
Tankha had earlier said on Twitter that the party would move the Supreme Court asking it to “intervene and save democracy”.
Congress leader Digvijay Singh said, “Removing someone from the status of a star campaigner is the prerogative of the political party and not the EC. The commission has violated its own guidelines by taking this step.”
Former Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, who crossed over to the BJP causing the Kamal Nath government to fall in Madhya Pradesh, said, “I'm surprised at Kamal Nath's behaviour. Despite EC’s action and the former Congress President asking him to apologise for his comments, he refuses to apologise. The public will make him say sorry on 3rd November and give a befitting reply to his ego.”
The poll body also said that if any campaign is carried out by the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister by Kamal Nath starting now, the entire expenditure will have to be met by the candidate in whose constituency the campaign was undertaken.
The EC in its order stated: “For repeated violation of Model Code of Conduct and for completely disregarding the advisory issued to him, the Commission hereby revokes the status of leader of political party (Star Campaigner) of Kamal Nath, Ex-Chief Minister, Madhya Pradesh, with immediate effect for the current Bye-elections of Legislative Assembly of Madhya Pradesh.”
As per a News18 report, he had used the words "mafia" and "milawat khor" against a political rival at a recent campaigning event. Also, last week, the EC had asked Nath to restrain himself from using words like "item" in campaigning.
The EC also took notice of another complaint in which Nath had spoken against MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
The EC said that these are repeated violations of MCC, meriting strong action.
The EC notice, according to The Times of India’s, refers to a provision of the model code of conduct that prohibits parties and candidates from making “criticism of all aspects of private life, not connected with public activities of the leaders or workers of the parties.”
This action comes days before the state is scheduled to hold by-elections for its 28 vacant Assembly seats.
Twenty four of the 28 Assembly seats that Madhya Pradesh will vote on 3 November fell vacant after former Congress MLAs resigned earlier this year.
(With inputs from ANI and The Times of India.)
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