Poll panel drops probe against Mulayam over Holi ‘bribe’ (Lead)

March 31st, 2009 - 9:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, March 31 (IANS) The Election Commission Tuesday said it is not taking any action against Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, whose activists were filmed distributing money to potential voters.
“The EC (Election Commission) has decided not to proceed further in the matter,” Deputy Election Commissioner R. Balakrishnan told reporters here.

On March 12, the poll panel slapped a notice on Mulayam Singh Yadav for violating the model code of conduct for the April-May Lok Sabha elections as his activists were found distributing cash during a function at his native place in Etawah district of Uttar Pradesh.

The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister, who is contesting the Lok Sabha election from the neighbouring district of Mainpuri, admitted it was a “mistake” though not a bribe. He said he gave gifts to people on Holi every year, terming it as a tradition and not an attempt to bribe anyone.

Balakrishnan refused to comment on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s allegations against the poll panel that it was soft on Yadav while harsh on Varun Gandhi, the BJP candidate from Pilibhit.

Asked about the further steps to be taken on Varun Gandhi’s alleged hate speeches, Balakrishnan said the commission had examined the CD of the speeches and asked the complainant to give more inputs.

The Election Commission also asked the central government’s sports secretary to submit a detailed report regarding the advertisements about the Commonwealth Games 2010 to be hosted in New Delhi.

The sports secretary was summoned before the commission Tuesday and asked to file a detailed report by Wednesday evening.

“The Election Commission asked the sports ministry to define the linkage between the ministry and the Commonwealth Games organising committee,” Balakrishnan said.

The poll panel also directed the sports secretary to provide details about those responsible for releasing the advertisements.

The Election Commission had earlier asked both the central and Delhi governments to recover the cost of full-page newspaper advertisements about the Commonwealth Games from the officers who approved the media blitz, as it violated the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha polls.

It said the matter relating to certain comments made by Home Minister P. Chidambaram against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was still under its consideration.

Chidambaram’s comments came during a at a press conference held at the Press Information Bureau (PIB) here March 23 after Modi described the shifting of the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament as a national shame.

Criticising Modi, Chidambaram said most people in India thought that the Gujarat communal riots of 2002 were a national shame.

The Election Commission said the candidates could use any number of the vehicles for the election campaign with the permission of the returning officers.

“A candidate can ply any number of vehicles for the purpose of election campaign but he has to seek prior approval of the returning officer for plying such vehicles and must display the permit in original prominently on the windscreen of the vehicle,” the deputy election commissioner said.

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