Prez Rule fiasco: EC issues notice to Jaiswal

The EC decided to issue show cause notice to Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal for alleged poll code violation for his comments on imposition of Prez`s Rule in UP.

New Delhi: Holding prima facie that his
comments on imposition of President`s Rule in Uttar Pradesh a
threat to voters and violation of Model Code of Conduct, the
Election Commission on Friday slapped a show cause notice on Union
Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal asking why action should not be
initiated against him.

"The Commission is, prima facie, satisfied that Shri Sri
Prakash Jaiswal, by making th aforesaid uncalled for statement
has attempted to threaten the voters of districts going for
poll in 6th and 7th phases either to vote for his party i.e.
INC, or face imposition of President Rule in Uttar Pradesh and
has thus violated the aforesaid provisions of the Model Code
of Conduct," the EC notice served on him said.

The Commission asked the Coal Minister to explain his
position on the matter by 2 PM on Monday, February 27, failing
which it will decide the matter without giving any further
opportunity to him.

The Commission today discussed the matter at its meeting
attended by Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi and
Election Commissioners VS Sampath and HS Brahma and decided
to issue a show cause notice to Jaiswal on his comments.

The EC action comes in the wake of complaints received by
it from BJP and Samajwadi Party, charging Jaiswal with
violating the Model Code and for threatening the voters of
Uttar Pradesh.

The EC acted on the BJP complaint made against Jaiswal
yesterday and the SP complaint received by it today.

Jaiswal had after casting his vote in Kanpur in the 5th
phase of polling yesterday, said "if Congress gets majority,
then it will form the government... In case we don`t get clear
majority, we sit in the opposition and I see no alternative
but Governor`s rule."

The EC had earlier sought the video of Jaiswal`s speech
besides also a report on the matter from the district
magistrate of Kanpur, which has since been given.

However, soon after returning to Delhi, he appeared to
retract, saying his statement was "twisted" by reporters.

The Commission held the Model Code of Conduct was for the
guidance of political parties and candidates and it provides
that "all parties and candidates shall avoid scrupulously all
activities which are `corrupt practices` and offences under
the election laws such as ... intimidation of voters..."

Reacting sharply to Jaiswal`s remarks, BJP had accused
Congress of treating the state like its fiefdom and dubbed the
minister`s comments as "undemocratic and a threat to the

Party leader LK Advani said imposition of President`s
rule in UP if Congress does not get a majority would be
blatant misuse of the provision.

"A union minister has publicly announced that if our
government is not formed, President`s Rule will be imposed...
Article 356 will be used. Nobody can even think of such
blatant misuse. The makers of our Constitution had never
imagined it would be used in the manner the minister has
stated," Advani had told reporters.

BJP President Nitin Gadkari had also hit out at Jaiswal,
saying "he is issuing a threat to voters that if you do not
vote for Congress, we will bring President`s Rule. This (UP)
is not Jaiswal`s fiefdom. This is a democratic country. By
issuing such a threat, in a way Jaiswal has violated the model
code of conduct and threatened people," Gadkari said.

Gadkari had said the disrespect shown by ministers like
Salman Khurshid, Beni Prasad Verma and now Jaiswal to the
Election Commission is such that if the poll panel does not
take strong and effective action, nobody will listen to it in

Congress spokesman Rashid Alvi said that Jaiswal has
already explained his position by noting that his remarks were
"misinterpreted" and that he would explain the same to the
poll body.

Samajwadi Party, in its complaint, had also charged
Jaiswal with intimidating the voters of Uttar Pradesh and said
his comments on imposition of President Rule in case
Congress did not get a majority was a "gross" violation of the
Model Code and had asked the EC to take stern action against