Bhopal: Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and Congress veteran Kamal Nath, who was snubbed by Rahul Gandhi for calling a female minister in Shivraj Cabinet “item” a couple of weeks ago, was on Friday stripped of the status of his party’s star campaigner by the Election Commission for “repeated violation of the model code of conduct”.
Taking serious note of breach of "ethical and dignified behaviour", the EC’s order said, “Now, therefore, 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 Shri Kamal Nath, ex-chief minister, Madhya Pradesh, with immediate effect for the current by-elections of Legislative Assembly of Madhya Pradesh.”
“However, if any campaign is done by Shri Kamal Nath from now onwards, the entire expenditure related to travel, stay, visit, etc… shall be completely borne by the candidate in whose constituency the campaign is done by Shri Kamal Nath,” the order added.
The Congress said it will move the Supreme Court against the Election Commission's decision. Congress' Rajya Sabha member and senior lawyer Vivek Tankha told reporters in Indore that a petition will be filed in the apex court as soon as possible.
According to provisions of the Representation of People’s Act, if a star campaigner is present with a candidate on stage while campaigning, only half the expenditure of the event has to come from the candidate’s account, while the rest is paid for by the party. A big relief for candidates during electioneering.
Citing how Nath repeatedly violated the model code of conduct, the EC said it issued a notice to the Congress leader on October 21 following complaints by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as well as the chairperson of the national commission that he had called a woman minister of Madhya Pradesh, “item”.
The commission issued an advisory to him to not use such words after finding his reply unsatisfactory.