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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Modi may have to reveal marital status if EC's plan of e-filing papers kicks in

Sanjib Kr Baruah, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 10, 2014
First Published: 01:14 IST(10/1/2014) | Last Updated: 02:41 IST(10/1/2014)

The election commission’s plan to make mandatory the e-filing of affidavits and expenditure statements will force candidates to furnish personal details, including their marital status.

Recently, the Supreme Court turned down a public interest litigation (PIL) that accused Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi of providing incomplete details — leaving blank the marital status column — while filing papers for the 2012 assembly polls. Such issues, said the court, were to be dealt by the chief election officer.

Modi’s marital status has been a matter of speculation though the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate has chosen not to speak about it.

The PIL had also sought quashing of the election officer’s decision not to reject the nomination paper of the Gujarat CM. Following the verdict, the poll panel had sought powers to disqualify candidates for giving wrong information under oath.

With the new software, which is being tested, there will be little room for ambiguity, an EC source said. “Not a single column can be left blank, otherwise the candidate’s form won’t be accepted by the software,” the source said. The formal order — mandating the use of the online facility for filing papers — is expected to be out by mid-February, EC sources told HT.

Candidate will be required to submit complete personal information, including marital and socio-economic status. The e-filing system is expected to kick in ahead of the Lok Sabha elections due in April-May.

Asked if the new form would cause discomfort to Modi, a BJP spokesperson said the question was reflective of a “perverted mentality”.  

“I haven’t seen the online form but at this point of time it will be inappropriate for me to comment on something that the EC is doing,” information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari said.

Read: Raj Thackeray sings an anti-Narendra Modi tune


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