EC issues notice to Mulayam Singh Yadav
Election Commision believes that Mulayam has indulged in "corrupt practice" by seeking votes on caste basis for upcoming UP polls, report Saroj Nagi and Anil Anand.delhi Updated: Apr 07, 2007 03:19 IST
Cracking the whip once again a day before the first phase of Assembly elections in UP, Election Commission has this time served a notice on Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav on Friday, for indulging in “ corrupt practices” by seeking votes on caste basis.
Tif found correct, the panel felt would amount to violation of the Model Code of Conduct Mulayam has been directed to file his reply by Sunday, 10 am. It was preceded by the EC fixing its guns on BJP president Rajnath Singh for releasing CD containing objectionable campaign material and union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar for announcing a relief package for sugar mills during the course of ongoing UP polls.
Mulayam figured on the panel’s radar after he had sought votes from persons belonging to a particular caste. The EC order said : “It has come to our notice that the SP leader, at a public meeting at Lalitpur on March 30, allegedly sought votes from voters of a particular caste.”
It also referred to the tone and tenor of Mulayam’s speech. "Kitne Yadav hain hath uthao jo Bundela (SP candidate) ko vote denge" (Yadavs raise hands who will vote for Bundela), the EC quoted Mulayam having allegedly said at the meeting. He is contesting from Bharthana assembly constituency in Etawah district where polling will be held on Saturday.
Meanwhile, BJP continues to draw flak, on the CD issue, from various political groupings. Bahujan Samaj Party Mayawati has petitioned the EC demanding de-recognition of the saffron party for circulating “ inflammatory campaign material”.
“BJP should not be forgiven on the CD issue,” she told media-persons after meeting Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami. She has also demanded a ban on the telecast of pre-poll surveys by TV channels.
Expanding his ambit of attack on Friday, former Prime Minister V P Singh said Centre and the Mulayam Singh Yadav governments should launch criminal proceedings against the BJP on CD issue. Singh had also petitioned the EC to ban opinion polls and surveys as they tended to squeeze out smaller parties, put a stop on the huge advertisements put out by big parties fighting the Uttar Pradesh elections which amount to corrupt electoral practices and order a probe of expenditure and resources.
Struggling to find his own space in the ongoing UP elections where the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the BSP are dominant players, Singh was worried that the surveys and advertisements would harm the candidates of smaller parties.
He contended that such polls tend to give advantage to one party against the other. ``If such surveys or opinion polls are allowed to continue the political parties, who have huge funds and associated themselves with enriched and/or have enriched themselves will get political mileage which is against the guidelines for conduct of fair elections,’’ he said. He noted that the Commission had, on earlier occasions, banned such surveys for free and fair polls.
``It was not only an election offense but also a criminal act to spread hatred,’’ Singh said. He emphasized that the first responsibility of the Mulayam regime was to start criminal proceedings against the BJP leadership. Responding to queries, he said he saw no need to write to the chief minister about this since Mulayam should be taking suo motu action against the BJP.
The CPM has condemned the "communal and inflammatory" propaganda launched by the BJP in UP through such CD. In a statement of the party polit bureau said: " The CD is a shocking exmaple of hate campaign against Muslims."
The panel has also set up a control room here to directly receive complaints from public regarding first phase of polling on Saturday. The control room phone numbers are : 23717045, 23717164.