Kamal Nath Moves Supreme Court Against EC Order That Revoked His 'Star Campaigner' Status
Former MP CM Kamal Nath speaking on EC revoking his star campaigner status
Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath has moved the Supreme Court challenging Election Commission's decision to revoke his "star campaigner" status for violations of the model code during campaign for the bye-polls in 28 assembly constituencies in the state.
Nath had used the words "mafia" and "milawat khor" against a political rival at a recent campaigning event. Last week, the EC had asked him not to use words like "item" in campaigning. The former CM had used the jibe to hit out at state minister and BJP candidate Imarti Devi at a rally. This is not for the first time that the EC has taken such a stern action against political leaders.
In an order, 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 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," it said. While the political party pays for the expenditure of a star campaigner, the candidate pays for the expenditure of other campaigners.
Nath had on Friday declined to comment on EC's decision and only said that star campaigner is not a post or a designation. The former MP added he would speak after November 10.
On Saturday, while speaking to the media after paying tribute to late PM Indira Gandhi on her death anniversary in Bhopal, Nath said, “When the opposition tends to lose, it starts using police, administration and liquor.” “I will campaign in Agar and Haatpiplya today and will continue to campaign on Sunday. There is no restrain on my campaigning,” he added.
Slamming the EC, Rajya Sabha MP and the eminent lawyer Vivek Tankha said who will be the star campaigner can't be decided by the election body as it’s a prerogative of the parties and does not fall under the ambit of the commission.
“Kamal Nath was leading our campaign and he was placed under EC action ban on Friday and courts are closed on Saturday and Sunday. The way he was drawing people in his rallies, it seems, it’s a conspiracy of the BJP to stop him. But the BJP is under misconception as people will talk against them whenever they will try to supress us,” added Tankha.
Referring to a conversation with Nath prior to polls, Tankha said he had asked him how many seats Congress could win and he replied it seems a 50:50 affair but Nath claimed he will win 20plus seats. However, as the campaigning progressed, the BJP realised that it was a one sided affair and the action on Nath was sing of their desperation.
Soon after EC had stripped Nath of star campaigner status, Congress leaders have reacted sharply on Friday.
“We are obliged that EC did not revoke Kamal Nath ji’s citizenship. Who will benefit from this ‘impartiality’ 48 hours ahead of the polls,” Congress Gwalior-Chambal region in charge KK Mishra had said.
Congress leader JP Dhanopia has also approached the Chief Electoral Officer of MP with several complaints against BJP leaders over their objectionable remarks. Bhagwandas Sabnani, the BJP spokesperson welcomed the EC decision on Nath saying the verdict will set an example electoral system of the country.