New Delhi, October 30
The Election Commission has revoked the status of “star campaigner” given to Madhya Pradesh Congress president Kamal Nath for what it termed as repeated violations of its code of conduct.
In an order issued on Friday, the Commission said: “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.”
It said no permission will be granted by authorities to Kamal Nath as a star campaigner.
“However, if any campaign is done by Kamal Nath from now onwards, the entire expenditure related to travel, stay and visit will be completely borne by the candidate in whose constituency he carries out campaigning,” he said.
The EC’s action comes days before the state is scheduled to hold by-elections for its 28 vacant assembly seats.
Former chief minister Kamal Nath had previously sparked outrage when he referred to a Dalit woman candidate from Gwalior’s Dabra as an “item”. The remark drew outrage not only from the woman candidate Imarti Devi—Kamal Nath’s former cabinet colleague and a former member of the Congress—and her party the Bharatiya Janata Party but also caused the EC to send a notice to him asking for an explanation.
The outrage caused Nath to apologise for the remark and prompted him to say he did not “mean to offend anybody”.
Twenty-four of the 28 assembly seats that Madhya Pradesh will vote on November 3 fell vacant after former Congress MLAs resigned earlier this year, leading to a fall of Kamal Nath’s government.
Votes for the by-elections will be counted on November 10. — Agencies