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MP minister distributes money, dares poll panel

Vijay Swaroop, Hindustan Times  Indore, October 16, 2013
First Published: 00:47 IST(16/10/2013) | Last Updated: 00:51 IST(16/10/2013)

Madhya Pradesh industries minister Kailash Vijayvargiya, who is facing heat for violating the model code of conduct by distributing money at a public function, has now challenged the code, saying excesses are being committed in its name.

Days after the Congress lodged a complaint against him for handing out money at a religious function in Mhow and making poll promises at a Dussehra programme in Indore, the BJP leader denied he had sought to bribe voters and went on to say, "I'm not worried about the Election Commission and don't believe in impractical electoral norms that do not recognise religious traditions."

"If restrictions are imposed on religious traditions, I'd prefer not to contest elections. I can stop contesting but cannot shun our traditions and rituals," he added at the Indore event on Monday.

Political observers see Vijayvargiya's defiance as a last resort to vacate the Mhow assembly seat. He wants to pave the way for his son Akash and has already announced his plans on Facebook. "But so far, the party has not heeded his request," said a BJP leader on condition of anonymity.

The Congress has reported the matter to poll officials. "The minister's statement is a big question mark on the system. The Election Commission is a constitutional system obeyed by all parties," said Narendra Saluja, spokesperson of the MP Congress committee.

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