MP bypolls: Removal of Kamal Nath's star campaigner status by EC 'unfair', says Cong MP; Nath goes to SC | WeForNews | Latest News, Blogs MP bypolls: Removal of Kamal Nath’s star campaigner status by EC ‘unfair’, says Cong MP; Nath goes to SC – WeForNews | Latest News, Blogs
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MP bypolls: Removal of Kamal Nath’s star campaigner status by EC ‘unfair’, says Cong MP; Nath goes to SC

Congress Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Tankha called the Election Commission’s decision “unfair” and said such “sarcastic comments” between candidates is the norm in poll campaign worldwide

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VIVEK TANKHA

Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath has moved the Supreme Court challenging an order of the Election Commission to revoke the Congress leader’s “star campaigner” status for violations of the model code during campaign for the bypolls in 28 assembly constituencies in the state.

Senior lawyer and Congress Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Tankha told PTI that the former chief minister has challenged the EC’s decision on various grounds and an urgent hearing on his plea would be sought.

The plea has been filed through advocate-on-record Varun Chopra and the defects pointed out in it by the apex court registry have been cured, said Tankha.

The poll panel on Friday took note of alleged breach of “ethical and dignified behaviour” and revoked the “star campaigner” status of the Congress leader.

While the political party pays for the expenditure of a star campaigner, the candidate pays for the expenditure of other campaigners.

In the order, the poll panel 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.

The EC said it has carefully considered the matter and has observed with “displeasure that Kamal Nath, despite being a leader of a political party, is repeatedly violating the provisions of Model Code of Conduct and breaching the ethical and dignified behaviour”.

The commission referred to his remarks against Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

He had used the words “mafia” and “milawat khor” against a political rival at a recent campaigning event.

The commission had announced the poll schedule on September 29 and the MCC came into immediate effect. Campaigning for the bypolls ends on November 1.

Meanwhile, Congress Rajya Sabha MP and senior lawyer Vivek Tankha termed the revocation of star campaigner status of former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath as “unfair”, and said such “sarcastic comments” between candidates is the norm in poll campaign worldwide, including the US.

“If you stop the election campaign of parties this way and not allow leaders to criticise each other, then it is not fair,” Tankha said.

“There will be sarcastic comments (in poll campaigns). Aren’t (US President) Trump and (Democratic presidential candidate) Joe Biden trading sarcasm? Doesn’t sarcasm happen in Britain? All over the world, political parties exchange sarcasm during campaigning,” he claimed.

Tankha said that the EC’s action against Nath was against the constitutional provisions of freedom of speech, adding it was “surprising” that it came in the last round of campaigning before polls are held on November 3, and that too “without giving any fresh notice”.

He alleged that the ruling BJP made a complaint about Nath’s remarks after getting worried over the huge crowds the former CM was drawing during the campaign.

Tankha said he and senior Congressman and lawyer Kapil Sibal will represent Nath in his legal fight against the EC order.

He claimed that the inclusion or exclusion of a person in the star campaigner list was the prerogative of the party and was outside the jurisdiction of the EC.

Election

Around 52% Polling recorded in 1st phase of DDC Polls in Jammu and Kashmir

The SEC said that the DDC elections will play a decisive role for development at the grass-roots level.

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Election

Jammu: State Election Commissioner (SEC) K.K. Sharma said on Saturday that the first phase of District Development Council (DDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir has been conducted successfully with a voter turnout of 51.76%.

The polling was by and large peaceful in the 43 constituencies of DDC that went to the polls on Saturday in which 3,62,766 voters, including 1,93,375 males and 1,69,391 females, out of 7,00,842 voters, exercised their franchise to choose their representatives in their respective councils, the SEC said in a press conference.

Sharma said that Reasi district recorded the highest polling at 74.62 per cent, followed by Rajouri (70.52 per cent), Poonch (68.69 per cent), Samba (68.61 per cent), Doda (64.49 per cent), Kathua (62.82 per cent), Jammu (61.49 per cent), Ramban (64.21 per cent), Udhampur (57.13 per cent) and Kishtwar (55.16 per cent) — all in Jammu division.

In the Kashmir division, Budgam district recorded the highest polling at 56.96 per cent, followed by Kupwara (50.74 per cent), Ganderbal (48.62 per cent), Bandipora (43.57 per cent), Anantnag 43.32 (per cent), Shopian (42.58 per cent), Kulgam (34.35 per cent), Srinagar (33.76 per cent) and Baramulla (32.51 per cent).

The SEC further said that large number of people came out to cast their votes in the first phase of DDC polls and panch/sarpanch bypolls. Long queues could be seen despite severe cold conditions in the Kashmir division and the hilly areas of the Jammu division, Sharma added.

The SEC said that the DDC elections will play a decisive role for development at the grass-roots level.

He also appreciated all the stakeholders for their tireless efforts for the successful conduct of the polling process. Adequate security personnel were deployed at all the polling stations to ensure the smooth conduct of the polls, he said.

The SEC further informed that arrangements for the second phase of polling — to be held in 43 constituencies, 25 in Kashmir division and 18 in Jammu division — have been put in place.

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Ahead of DDC polls, BJP targets Abdullahs over ‘land grab’

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Farooq Abdullah

New Delhi: Ahead of the District Development Council (DDC) polls in Jammu and Kashmir beginning Saturday, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad trained his guns on the Abdullahs for their alleged role in the Roshni scam.

Prasad alleged that the key leaders of the erstwhile state, including Farooq Abdullah, used their “influence and power for land grabbing”.

“In 1998, Farooq Abdullah had purchased 3 kanals of land but he encroached upon 7 kanals of land which were double the size of the purchase,” Prasad alleged while speaking to the media. He further said that under the Roshni scam, the name of Farooq Abdullah’s sister Suraiya Mattu has also appeared, who, the minister alleged, is also a beneficiary of 3 kanals of land.

“There was a conscious land loot by the powerful people of J&K who were getting benefits under the Roshni Act which was declared unconstitutional by the J&K High Court. This is low level politics by the powerful people of J&K and we condemn it,” alleged Prasad.

Prasad said the J&K High Court has declared the Roshni Act as unconstitutional and has stated that the names of people who have acquired land under this Act should be listed and made public.

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CPI-M and Cong holding talks, to rally in Kolkata on Nov 23

Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has accused AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi of trying to benefit the BJP. Owaisi has denied the charge and maintained that he was running a political party and contest elections wherever the party wishes.

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New Delhi: A joint rally of the Congress and CPI-M slated to be held on Monday in Kolkata on Monday is a step towards an alliance ahead of the 2021 Assembly elections as informal talks on the issue are on, Congress sources said on Sunday.

The West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee (WBPCC) and the Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPI-M) will rally on November 23 to protest against the alleged ‘anti-people’ policies of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre.

The BJP has already started preparation to take on the ruling Trinamool Congress. The Congress and the Left will face challenges from the TMC, BJP and AIMIM in the state polls.

Party insiders said that both parties will chalk out joint political programmes across various Bengal districts to emerge as a third political alternative in the Assembly polls.

“Both the parties met to prepare the road map for the coming Assembly polls,” the sources said.

CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury has said that defeating the TMC and the BJP is a priority for his party as he blames the TMC for BJP inroads in the eastern state. The West Bengal could see three-cornered contest with AIMIM giving an edge to the BJP, as was seen in Bihar Assembly polls.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen has reportedly offered an alliance with TMC and awaiting a response. Howver, it’s unlikely that the TMC will join hands with AIMIM, considering it will give the BJP an advantage, the sources pointed out.

As many as 90 seats in the 294-member West Bengal Assembly have sizeable Muslim voters, who can be a deciding factor in any poll battle. Even if the AIMIM may not win many seats in Bengal, it can surely play a Bihar-like spoilsport for the TMC and the Congress.

Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has accused AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi of trying to benefit the BJP. Owaisi has denied the charge and maintained that he was running a political party and contest elections wherever the party wishes.

Muslims in West Bengal account for 27 per cent of the total voters, a majority of them going along with the TMC and the Congress in the past.

The BJP won 18 Lok Sabha seats in the 2019 general elections and any further division of Muslim votes in Assembly elections will only benefit it.

The districts of Murshidabad, Malda, and North Dinajpur have more than 50 per cent Muslim population while Birbhum, North and South 24 Parganas, Howrah and Nadia have more than 25 per cent Muslims.

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