The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the order of the Election Commission revoking the ‘star campaigner’ status of senior Congress leader Kamal Nath.
The former Madhya Pradesh chief minister’s ‘star campaigner’ status was revoked by the Election Commission (EC) on October 30 for violation of the Model Code of Conduct during the campaign for the bypolls in the state.
While a political party pays for the expenditure of a star campaigner, the candidate pays for the expenditure of other campaigners.
Although the counsel for the Election Commission contended that Kamal Nath’s plea has become infructuous as the poll campaign is over and voting is scheduled on Wednesday, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde stayed the order.
Kamal Nath has also sought framing of appropriate guidelines for speeches during campaigning by star campaigners or campaigners, “keeping in mind the right to freedom of speech and expression and concept of democratic elections”.
Controversies that led to EC’s order against Kamal Nath
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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