Distributing money at the time of elections has now proved to be troublesome for BJP leader and former Union minister Jaswant Singh and his son Manvendra Singh. Earlier, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav drew flak from the Election Commission for the same reason.
The commission on Tuesday sought a report from Rajasthan Chief Electoral Officer Vinod Jutshi on Jaswant distributing money at an election rally for Manvendra at Godriya in Rajasthan’s Barmer district. The poll panel’s direction came after Singh was caught distributing money on television.
An election commission official said action against Singh could only be initiated after examining Jutshi’s report. According to the model code of conduct, a case for influencing voters can be registered against Singh, if he is found guilty.
The Congress demanded on Tuesday that Manvendra, BJP candidate from the Barmer Lok Sabha constituency, be disqualified for violating the model code of conduct.
Although BJP’s national vice-president Kailash Meghwal admitted that Rs 10,000 were given to a 60-year-old leprosy patient, Badi Devi, Manvendra said, “I was campaigning some 200 km away from the spot. I am not responsible for somebody else’s action.”
Jutshi, however, has sought a report on the incident from Barmer district collector latest by Wednesday.
Congress spokesman Satendra Singh Raghav pointed out, “Distribution of the money in an election rally is a clear violation of the model code of conduct. Hence, the BJP candidate should be disqualified.”
He alleged, “BJP believes in Vote ke badle note (vote for money), which was also witnessed during the last assembly polls in Rajasthan.”
Barmer district collector Ravi Jain told Hindustan Times that preliminary reports said money was indeed distributed to some persons at the rally, and he would send a final report to the CEO after seeing the video recording of the meeting.
Jutshi added: “I will decide on what to do only after seeing the evidence. And we will seek the Election Commission’s direction before taking any action.”
Inputs from Chetan Chauhan