Following a series of controversial remarks by senior Congress leader Kamal Nath in the poll campaign for the Assembly bye-elections in Madhya Pradesh, the Election Commission has ordered that Kamal Nath will no longer be a “star campaigner” in the poll campaign.
The Election Commission (EC) clarified that Kamal Nath’s ‘star campaigner’ status was being revoked for repeated violations of the Model Code of Conduct. Notably, the EC had earlier warned Kamal Nath to refrain from making controversial remarks, but in vain. The EC in its order said that Kamal Nath had repeatedly breached ethical and dignified behaviour.
Following the EC’s order, if Kamal Nath campaigns in the bypolls, the cost of his travel, stay and all other associated costs will have to be borne by the candidate.
Controversies over Kamal Nath’s remark
On October 13, Kamal Nath said at a rally that Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is a “nautanki kalakar and should act in films in Mumbai”. He had also said: “Aapke Bhagwan toh woh mafia hai jisse aapne Madhya Pradesh ki pehchaan banai. Aapke bhagwan toh milawat-khor hain (your god is a mafia).”
Kamal Nath had on October 18 targeted Imarti Devi saying the Congress candidate Suresh Raje was a “simple person” unlike his opponent who is an “item”. Nath was campaigning in Dabra.
“Why should I take the name (of the opposition candidate)? You all know that person better than me. What an item,” Kamal Nath had said, as the crowd responded with cheers and chanted her name.
The former Madhya Pradesh CM’s comment resulted in a major controversy, with both BJP and Imarti Devi appealing to Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi seeking Kamal Nath’s expulsion.
Rahul Gandhi too had criticised Kamal Nath for his “item” remark. He had said: “Kamal Nath ji is from my party, but personally, I don’t like the type of language that he used. I don’t appreciate it, regardless of who he is. It is unfortunate.”
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