More poll code violations in Madhya Pradesh than Bihar
There have been more violations of the model code of conduct in Madhya Pradesh, the state where by-polls to 28 assembly constituencies are scheduled to be held on November 3 , as compared to Bihar, which will vote to elect its 243-member assembly in three phases starting 28 October, people familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued nearly seven notices for serious poll violations in Madhya Pradesh, including to former chief minister Kamal Nath, BJP state minister Imarti Devi and BJP leader Kailash Vijayvarghia . No such notices have been issued so far in Bihar.
According to people familiar with the matter, nearly a 1000 cases of model code violations have been found in MP, whereas in Bihar cases are in the hundreds. The violations include serious ones and other inconsequential ones.
“It is surprising and unusual that so many cases would come from Madhya Pradesh,” said one person familiar with the matte. “So many weren’t expected; it is highly irregular.”
The person added that the last they saw such a trend was in West Bengal ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2019. “That was also unorthodox considering normally a fight between a national party and a local one doesn’t make national polls so murky.”
The Madhya Pradesh by-poll is particularly contentious as the erstwhile Congress government was brought down after Jyotiraditya Scindia and his loyalists resigned from the Congress to join the Bhartiya Party. BJP enjoys a wafer-thin majority in the state, and has to win nine seats to ensure the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led government stays in power.
The Election Commission of India on Monday advised former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath to not use words like “item” during the period of the Model Code of Conduct.
“ ... the Commission, hereby advises Kamal Nath, ex-chief minister Madhya Pradesh that while making public utterances he should not use any such word or statement during the period of Model Code of Conduct,” the order said, referring to his use of the term to describe Imarti Devi.
It added that Nath’s use of the word “item” for a lady was a violation of the advisory issued by the commission relating to the model code.
The Commission has also issued a notice against BJP leader Kailash Vijayvarghia asking him to explain his ”chunnu-munnu“ remark.
The BJP leader referred to Congress leaders Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh as ”chunnu-munnu” at an election rally. He had also called them “gaddar” (traitors). The notice said the statement was found to be in violation of the provisions of the model code.
The Commission has given Vijayvarghia 48 hours to explain his comments. It has also given Devi 48 hours to explain her remarks that Nath went “mad after he lost the post of chief minister.”
The violations include serious ones and other inconsequential ones, ones made over the phone, C-Vigil and to the officials in state. The Commission has also held a meeting with senior Madhya Pradesh leaders to discuss the matter.
A second person familiar with the matter said that the increase in violations seems to be because both parties are invested in bringing their government back to power. “It is a make or break situation, so the stakes are higher in Madhya Pradesh,” the person said.