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  India   All India  25 Jun 2017  Election Commission disqualifies MP minister for 3 years

Election Commission disqualifies MP minister for 3 years

THE ASIAN AGE. | RABINDRA NATH CHOUDHURY
Published : Jun 25, 2017, 1:54 am IST
Updated : Jun 25, 2017, 2:14 am IST

Mishra’s election from Datia Assembly constituency in 2008 stands void and he has been barred from contesting elections for a period of three years.

Madhya Pradesh Minister Narottam Mishra. (Photo: Twitter | ANI)
 Madhya Pradesh Minister Narottam Mishra. (Photo: Twitter | ANI)

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Cabinet minister Narottam Mishra has been disqualified by the Election Commission for alleged corrupt practices and paid news during the 2008 Assembly polls.

Considered close to chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the state minister for public relations, water resources and legislative affairs, is known in political circles as the CM’s “trouble shooter”.

Mr Mishra’s election from Datia Assembly constituency in 2008 stands void and he has been barred from contesting elections for a period of three years.

Mr Mishra said he will challenge EC’s order in the high court and insisted that he “never paid to the media… there is no evidence.”

If he doesn’t get relief from the high court, he won’t be able to contest the 2018 Assembly polls in the state, and probably the next Lok Sabha elections.

Mr Mishra was elected to the current Assembly from Datia in 2013, and that election stands.

This means that while he can continue being minister and MLA, but can’t contest any election for three years.

In its 69-page order issued on Friday, the EC pointed that Mr Mishra “not only knowingly submitted a false account of expenses, but also attempted to circumvent the legally prescribed limit on expenditure.” It added that “such attempts need to be curbed with strong measures and visited with exemplary sanctions and restore the balance in the electoral playing field.”

Congress leader Rajendra Bharati, who had lost the Assembly election against Mr Mishra from Datia in 2008, had moved the EC seeking the BJP leader’s disqualification for submitting wrong accounts on election expenditures.

“The EC verdict has dealt a blow to unscrupulous politicians who want to win the elections by adopting corrupt practices,” he said on Saturday.

Congress legislature party leader Ajey Singh has demanded Mr Mishra’s resignation.

Citing views of “legal experts”, Mr Mishra described the EC’s disqualification order as “infractuous” and said, “I have won the people’s mandate in 2013 MP Assembly polls and there was no comment on my current mandate by the commission... My lawyer has told me that the case related to paid news. But neither has the complainant provided documents to corroborate the paid news charges against me nor is there any mention of it in EC’s order.”

In its order the EC said that the paid news phenomenon, “a manifestation of the pernicious effect of money in elections”, has been “growing increasingly vicious and spreading like cancer, in recent times.”

Calling it a “grave electoral malpractice” which circumvents election expenditure limits, the EC said, it “disturbs the level playing field and militates against the voters’ right to accurate information to enable him to make informed choice.”

The EC noted that the common man gives more credence to news in newspapers than to advertisements of political parties and hence the publication of advertisements in the garb of news by way of paid news “amounts to deceiving the electorate.”

“His petitions before the high court and then the Supreme Court challenging the show cause notice issued by EC on the issue earlier had already been dismissed... The EC gave its verdict after hearing both the parties and scrutinsing the documents submitted in the case”, Mr Bharati told this newspaper.

A full bench of the Election Commission, comprising Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi and election commissioners A.K. Joti and O.P. Rawat, in its order indicting Mr Mishra unseated him under various sections of the Representation of the People Act (RPA).

BJP state president Nand Kumar Singh Chouhan, who reportedly discussed the matter with chief minister Mr Chouhan, said, “Party will back Mr Mishra fully on the issue. We will move the court”.

Tags: narottam mishra, shivraj singh chouhan, election commission