The Election Commission of India (EC) on Thursday turned down the BJP’s complaint against chief minister Hemant Soren’s stay in Dumka after the last day of campaigning.
The EC stated that Soren’s stay was not a violation of the model code of conduct. Campaigning for the Dumka Lok Sabha seat came to an end on April 22. The constituency went to polls on Thursday.
The BJP had addressed letters to the chief electoral officer of Jharkhand and the EC on Wednesday, requesting a probe into the chief minister’s stay in the constituency, alleging that his presence in Dumka was influencing administrative decisions prior to polling.
The party also mentioned in the letters that Soren’s presence in Dumka after the official conclusion of campaigning was a violation of the model code of conduct.
However, PK Jajoria, the chief electoral officer of Jharkhand, said the chief minister’s mere presence in Dumka cannot be taken as a violation of the code of conduct.
Jajoria added that if Soren had campaigned after the last date of campaign then it would have been a violation.
“The EC has specified that Hemant’s mere presence in Dumka was not a violation of the model code of conduct,” Jajoria said.
BJP state president and LS candidate from the Koderma seat Ravindra Rai had on Tuesday said under the Representation of the People Act, the presence of political functionaries who have been brought from outside the constituency and who are not voters of that particular constituency, should not continue to remain there. Their mere presence after campaign may affect free and fair polls.
Rai had alleged that Soren was a voter in Ranchi and his presence may influence the polling process in Dumka, especially due to his designation.
On Wednesday, former chief minister and Opposition leader Arjun Munda had said as a chief minister Soren should not stay on in Dumka after the end of campaigning.
Soren’s father and JMM chief Sibu Soren is contesting the elections from Dumka. The chief minister was in Dumka as part of campaigning to support his father.
Sources said JVM(P) chief Babulal Marandi, who is contesting from Dumka seat against Sibu Soren, had also protested the CM’s presence in the region.