Supreme Court on Monday puts on hold the decision of Election Commission removing Congress’s Kamal Nath as the star campaigner for the by-elections in Madhya Pradesh.
“We are staying the Election Commission’s order and the EC has no power,” said Chief Justice of India SA Bobde.
The decision came on a plea filed by the former Chief Minister challenging the poll body’s order.
Kamal Nath had on Saturday moved the Supreme Court challenging the order of Election Commission of India (ECI) which has revoked his “star campaigner” status for the upcoming bypolls in Madhya Pradesh.
Senior lawyer and Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Tankha said that senior Congress leader had challenged the ECI’s decision on various grounds and an urgent hearing on the plea would be sought, news agency PTI reported.
On Friday, citing repeated violations of Model Code of Conduct (MCC), the commission in an order issued said, “…for repeated violation of Model Code of Conduct and for completely disregarding the advisory issued to him, the Commission hereby revokes the status of leader of political party (Star Campaigner) of Kamal Nath, Ex-Chief Minister, Madhya Pradesh, with immediate effect for the current Bye-elections of Legislative Assembly of Madhya Pradesh.”
In its order, EC had said it has taken action against the Congress leader over his remark calling CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan “mafia” and “milawat khor” on October 13. The Commission had earlier warned him on October 26 for calling BJP candidate Imarti Devi an “item” while campaigning for a Congress candidate.
A couple of weeks ago, after Kamal Nath’s ‘item’ remark for a BJP minister Imarti Devi, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Jyotiraditya Scindia had held “silent protests”.
While addressing a poll meeting in Dabra in support of Congress candidate Suresh Raja, Kamal Nath hailed him as a “simple man” unlike his opponent (Imarti Devi) who is an “item.”
“Why should I take the name (of the opposing candidate)? You all know that person better than me. What an item,” he had said.
Kamal Nath government had fell after a political crisis in the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly erupted after the Senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia along with 22 Congress legislators resigned from the party. Congress was enjoying a wafer-thin majority in the state with 114 seats leaving behind the opposition BJP on 109 seats.
After the resignation of 22 Congress legislators, the ‘magical figure’ in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly dropped at 106, a number which was a ‘cake-walk’ for BJP to attain.