The Election Commission on Thursday issued a notice to Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav after TV channels aired images of SP workers distributing Rs 100 notes among supporters gathered for a Holi function at Safai — Mulayam’s native village.
The poll panel has asked the SP chief why a criminal case should not be registered against him for distributing money to people on Wednesday.
He has been directed to submit a reply by 11 am on March 14. “It is apparent that the distribution of money in your presence has been made with a view to solicit votes and support for yourself and your party,” the notice read.
Mulayam has been charged with adopting corrupt practices while campaigning after the model code of conduct was enforced. The model code prohibits parties from offering anything in kind or cash that can influence voters.
“The money was given to the people who played drums and presented songs during the Holi programme organised in the village,” Mulayam told journalists in Kanpur. “It’s an old tradition that the artistes who play the drums and present songs are given money at the end of the programme.”
Uttar Pradesh’s chief electoral officer Anuj Kumar Bishnoi said he had also sought a report from the Etawah district authorities over the Safai incident. “If Mulayam’s reply is unsatisfactory, action could be initiated against him under Section 171(B) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 123, sub-clause 1 of the Representation of the Peoples Act,” Bishnoi said.
However, SP’s rivals alleged that Mulayam had distributed money among the people. “After the ruckus erupted at the spot during the money distribution, the SP chief intervened and told the people to maintain order, as all of them would get the money,” a rival leader alleged.