Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Verma will campaign, says BJP after EC order
The Election Commission directive that ordered the Bharatiya Janata Party to drop Union Minister Anurag Thakur and lawmaker Parvesh Verma from its list of star campaigners for Delhi elections doesn’t stop them from campaigning for party candidates, a Delhi BJP leader said on Wednesday.
Ashok Goel, the state BJP’s media in-incharge, said the election commission had only asked the party to remove their names from the campaigners’ list. “This doesn’t mean that they cannot campaign,” Goel said soon after the election panel announced its decisions.
Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma will continue to campaign for the party as the Election Commission has not asked to stop their campaigns, he stressed.
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Officials said the distinction between a designated star campaigner and other campaigners is largely an election accounting and expenditure monitoring aspect.
Expenditure incurred by star campaigners on account of travel by aircraft, helicopter or any other means is added to the account of respective political parties. For other campaigners, this spending would have to be added to the expenditure by the candidate concerned to calculate if he, or she, has spent more than Rs 28 lakh. The law bars candidates from spending more than Rs 28 lakh on elections to state assembly.
The two leaders had headed into a huge row for their controversial comments that, rivals allege, were part of the communally divisive rhetoric that the BJP has used over the past week in the Delhi election campaign.
Verma had alleged that protesters gathered at Shaheen Bagh - where a sit-in against the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act has continued for over a month - would enter homes, rape and kill people and this can be prevented if the BJP is elected in the February 8 polls.
Thakur, on the other hand, was sent notice by the poll body for his election speech where he was heard saying to a gathering, “desh ke gaddaron ko…” leading to the people to reply in unison “...goli maro s****n ko”.
Verma said he would certainly continue to campaign for his party. “I am allowed to campaign,” Parvesh Verma said.
But he still has some explaining to do.
Verma was issued a formal notice by the Election Commission after it ordered the BJP to drop him and Anurag Thakur from its list of star campaigners. This one gave the West Delhi MP time till tomorrow noon to explain his controversial remarks which, the commission felt, “had the potential of disturbing harmony and aggravating the existing difference between social and religious communities”.