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Munugode bypoll: EC bans Telangana minister from campaigning for 48 hrs for threatening voters

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Google Oneindia News

New Delhi, Oct 29: The Election Commission on Saturday barred Telangana energy minister Guntakandla Jagadish Reddy from campaigning in Munugode assembly by-election for 48 hours for violating the poll code after he allegedly threatened to stop welfare schemes if people do not vote for the ruling TRS candidate.

The poll panel deplored the minister's statement and censured him for the violation. Though Reddy denied the charge, the EC said the tone and tenor of his speech "is in the nature of intimidation of voters".

Munugode bypoll: EC bans Telangana minister from campaigning for 48 hrs for threatening voters

"Commission orders under Article 324 of the Constitution ... to prohibit him from holding any public meetings, public processions, public rallies, road shows and interviews ... in connection with or having an impact on ongoing by-election ... for 48 hours from 7:00 pm," it said.

The by-election is on November 3. In its show cause notice to Reddy on Friday, the EC had cited a complaint submitted by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader.

The notice quotes the English translation of the minister's speech made on October 25 in which he said, "The election is not between Kusukuntla Prabhakar Reddy and Rajgopal Reddy, it is the election for whether to continue the pension of Rs 2,000 or not, it is for whether to continue Rythu Bandhu or not, whether to continue free 24-hour electricity or not... ."

" If anyone is not interested in pension, he can vote for (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi, if anyone wants schemes, vote for KCR (Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao)," he had said.

In his reply, the minister said he has never delivered any speech stating that all welfare schemes will be stopped if people do not vote for the contesting candidate. He claimed that it was an attempt by him to explain the welfare schemes provided by the state government.

He claimed that the BJP leader's allegations are vague, false, concocted and untrue. But EC said it is convinced that the tone and tenor of the speech made by Reddy "is in the nature of intimidation of voters" and thus is a violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

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