EC slaps notice on Jaiswal for Prez Rule comments

Sriprakash Jaiswal
New Delhi, Feb 24: The Election Commission decided to issue show cause notice to Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal for alleged poll code violation for his comments on imposition of President's rule in Uttar Pradesh. The Commission in its meeting decided to issue the notice to Jaiswal asking why action should not be initiated against him for his controversial comments, a senior Commission official told PTI.

Jaiswal had after casting his vote in Kanpur in the 5th phase of polling yesterday said, "If Congress gets majority then it will form the government... In case we don't get clear majority we sit in the opposition and I see no alternative but governor's rule."

The matter was discussed at the meeting of the Commission attended by Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi and the two Election Commissioners VS Sampath and HS Brahma. The EC acted on the BJP complaint made against Jaiswal on his President's Rule comments, which it termed as a violation of the Model Code of Conduct and had asked the Uttar Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer to send the same to Delhi and procure the video of Jaiswal's speech made in Kanpur.

UP CEO Umesh Sinha had told PTI, "A complaint from the BJP had been received here and the same has been forwarded to Election Commission in Delhi for further necessary action." Sources said the EC had also sought a report on the matter from the district magistrate of Kanpur, which has since been given.

However, soon after returning to Delhi, he appeared to retract, saying his statement was "twisted" by reporters.

The Commission held the Model Code of Conduct was for the guidance of political parties and candidates and it provides that "all parties and candidates shall avoid scrupulously all activities which are 'corrupt practices' and offences under the election laws such as ... intimidation of voters..."

Reacting sharply to Jaiswal's remarks, BJP had accused Congress of treating the state like its fiefdom and dubbed the minister's comments as "undemocratic and a threat to the voters".

Party leader LK Advani said imposition of President's rule in UP if Congress does not get a majority would be blatant misuse of the provision.

"A union minister has publicly announced that if our government is not formed, President's Rule will be imposed.

Article 356 will be used. Nobody can even think of such blatant misuse. The makers of our Constitution had never imagined it would be used in the manner the minister has stated," Advani had told reporters.

BJP President Nitin Gadkari had also hit out at Jaiswal, saying "he is issuing a threat to voters that if you do not vote for Congress, we will bring President's Rule. This (UP) is not Jaiswal's fiefdom. This is a democratic country. By issuing such a threat, in a way Jaiswal has violated the model code of conduct and threatened people," Gadkari said.


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