On the heels of state industries minister Kailash Vijayvargiya landing in the soup over distributing cash to some ‘dholak’ players on Dussehra, a former BJP minister has invited trouble for the same act on the occasion of Eid.
The Jabalpur district election office on Sunday served notice to Anchal Sonkar for violating the model code of conduct by distributing cash among some artistes at an Eid function. Sonkar, along with the organisers, has been given 48 hours to reply. Though it is prohibited, many candidates distribute cash and gifts to influence votes during their campaigns.
The district election office took suo motu cognisance of the cash distribution on the basis of some media reports, a senior official said. Sonkar, who lost the assembly election in 2008 from Jabalpur east assembly constituency, is in the race for a ticket in the approaching assembly election.
Madhya Pradesh votes on November 25 when chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and the BJP will be in the fray for a third consecutive term.
“The notice has been issued under provisions of the Representation of the People Act, Indian Penal Code and the urrency Act to find out whether the purpose behind organising the function was to seek any electoral benefit,” said additional collector AB Singh.
Congress leader Lakhan Ghanghoria alleged he had seen the video recording of the function as well.
When contacted, Sonkar said, “Some people attending the function requested me to come on the dais and distribute cash as it is a tradition to hand out money to artistes on such occasions.”
He said he was neither a sitting MLA nor a party candidate for the assembly election. Hence, his act did not amount to violating the code.
Notably, Vijayvargiya had justified his act and reportedly said, “I’m not worried about the Election Commission and don’t believe in impractical electoral norms that do not recognise religious traditions.”
However, when the EC served a notice to Vijayvargiya for code violation, he regretted his harsh words against the commission.