THE ELECTION Commission of India has asked Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, his nine ministerial colleagues, three MLAs and one MP Krishnamurari Moghe to furnish their replies before June 28 on the Leader of Opposition Jamuna Devi’s plea for disqualification of the BJP leaders for holding offices of profit.
According to sources, though the ministers are confident that the Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Mandal Sadasyata Nirharta Nivaran Adhiniyam 1967 will bail them out, the notices have created a flutter in the BJP Government. The issue also came up in close-door confabulations of the Shivraj ministry in the Pachmarhi brainstorming session.
The ministers are seeking legal advice on the issue. Sources said they are likely to send identical reply to the Election Commission.
Secretary of the Commission, K F Wilfred served the notices on June 7 under Section 146 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. The ministers on whom notices have been served include Himmat Singh Kothari, Babulal Gaur, Gopal Bhargava, Yashodhara Raje Scindia, Jagdish Deora, Ramakant Tiwari, Rustam Singh, Chandrabhan Singh Chouhan, Vijay Shah and Tukojirao Panwar.
The three BJP MLAs who got the notices are Laxman Singh Gaur, Lal Singh Arya and Shivraj Shah. Jamuna Devi had filed plea for disqualification when the office of profit issue had rocked the nation in the wake of Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s resignation from the Lok Sabha.
Later, on the directive of the Election Commission, the veteran Congress leader furnished supplementary information/documents in this matter.
The Commission in its fresh notices also warned the ministers and MLAs that “if no reply is received from you by the date abovementioned (June 28), it will be presumed that you have nothing to say in the matter”.