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EC says satisfied that Jaiswal did not threaten UP voters about President's rule
New Delhi, March 2, 2012
The Election Commission (EC) today said that it was satisfied that Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal had no intention of threatening or intimidating electors by making certain remarks about the possibility of imposition of President's rule in Uttar Pradesh during the campaign for the ongoing elections to the state legislative assembly and had decided not to pursue the matter.
In an order on complaints made to it by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) about the February 23 remarks of the Minister at Kanpur, the EC said it had considered Jaiswal's reply to its notice to him and also seen the CDs of the video recording of submitted by him.
"The Commission is of the view that the tone and tenor and context of the impugned speech of Shri Sriprakash Jaiswal do not suggest any threat or intimidation to voters," the order said.
The complaint by the BJP and the SP had alleged that Jaiswal had said in Kanpur on February 23, during campaigning for the elections, that the Congress would get a majority and if it fell short then President's rule would be imposed in the state.
In the notice, the Commission had said it was, prima facie, satisfied that Jaiswal had, by making the "uncalled for" statement, attempted to threaten the voters of districts going to the polls in the 6th and 7th phases to either vote for his party, the Congress, or face imposition of President's rule and had, thus, violated the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).
It pointed out that para 1(4) of the MCC for the Guidance of Political Parties and Candidates, inter-alia, provides that all parties and candidates shall avoid scrupulously all activities hich are "corrupt practices" and offeces under the election law such as "intimidation of voters..."
The Commission gave Jaiswal an opportunity to explain as to why action should not be taken against him for violating the provisions of the MCC, failing which it would decide the matter without giving any further opportunity to him.
In his reply of February 29, Jaiswal had denied the charges and stated that his statement had been distorted and that he had never threatened the voters as alleged.
He said that he had, in response to a query by a journalist about the stand the Congress would take if it did not win a majority in the elections, said that his party would get a clear majority and that if it fell short of that, he did not see any other alternative except President's rule. He said he had not threatened that President's rule would be imposed.