Congress has maintained that it had submitted the name of senior leaders for campaigning in the ongoing Assembly elections in three states to the Election Commission in time and that the BJP was unnecessarily trying to rake up a controversy as the party was bereft of poll issues.
Senior Congress leader Moti Lal Vora said the list containing names of the leaders for campaigning in Uttrakhand, Mizoram and Punjab was sent to the EC within the stipulated time frame.
Vora, who is incharge of Uttrakhand, said the party has not received any communique from the Commission. "We will offer an explanation if the Commission raises any objection," he said.
Under Section 77 of the Representation of People Act, 1951, national parties are required to furnish a list of 40 leaders for taking part in the campaign within a week after poll notification. The expenditure incurred on these leaders' programmes is then excluded from the account of the candidates for whom they campaign. In the case of Punjab, January 25 was the last date.
However, Deputy Election Commissioner RR Bhatacharya said that the Congress had submitted the list with the EC in New Delhi on January 27 and to the chief electoral officer of Punjab on February 2.
In reply to a question, he said there is no provision in the Act to serve a notice to the erring party. The process to identify defaulters on account of over-expenditure automatically starts after the candidates submit their accounts and disqualification of candidates on this basis is determined by the judicial process, he said.
A BJP delegation led by Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, its vice-president, had on Wednesday petitioned the Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami about Congress missing the deadline to submit the list of leaders and that the candidates for whom they campaigned face the ignominy of being disqualified.