MP bypolls: EC revokes Kamal Nath's star campaigner status over MCC violation; Congress to move SC

In its order, the EC referred to Nath's 'item' remark against BJP leader Imarti Devi and 'coconut' remark about Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and said Nath had 'repeatedly' violated MCC

Press Trust of India October 30, 2020 23:41:58 IST
MP bypolls: EC revokes Kamal Nath's star campaigner status over MCC violation; Congress to move SC

File Image of Congress leader Kamal Nath. PTI

Indore: The Congress on Friday said it will move the Supreme Court against the Election Commission's decision to revoke the 'star campaigner' status of its senior leader Kamal Nath ahead of 3 November bypolls in Madhya Pradesh.

Reacting to the development, Nath said the EC had not given him any notice or hearing. Congress' Rajya Sabha member and senior lawyer Vivek Tankha told reporters that a petition will be filed in the apex court as soon as possible.

The EC on Friday revoked the star campaigner status of Madhya Pradesh Congress chief and former chief minister Kamal Nath for "repeated" violations of the model code while campaigning for the bypolls to 28 Assembly constituencies in the state.

While a political party pays for the expenditure of a star campaigner, an individual candidate pays for the expenditure of other campaigners.

The EC said it has carefully considered the matter and has observed with "displeasure that Kamal Nath despite being a leader of a political party is repeatedly violating the provisions of Model Code of Conduct and breaching the ethical and dignified behaviour".

The Commission referred to his remarks against Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Last week, the EC had asked Nath not to use words like "item" in campaigning. He had used the jibe to hit out at state minister and BJP candidate Imarti Devi at a rally.

Reacting to the EC's decision, Nath said, "Which post or position this star campaigner has? The EC had not given me any notice, nor had it asked me about it. Why they are doing this in the last two days of campaigning, they only know."

Asked if he will move the Supreme Court, he said, "Vivek Tankha is handling it, he will take a call."

But the Congress leader defended his use of the word "item". "I was in the Lok Sabha for so many years. There it is mentioned in the agenda sheet, item number 1, item number 2. That was in my mind. I have not said it to disrespect anyone," he said.

"Still I had said that if someone feels insulted, then I express regret," the former chief minister added.

Nath also claimed that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi did not express disapproval about him in particular after the episode but only said disrespectful language should not be used for women.

Asked about BJP leaders' demand that he apologise, Nath said, "It is not anyone's demand. In the end I do what I feel is right and proper, because it (disrespecting the woman minister) was not my intention."

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