New Delhi: BJP on Friday sought disqualification
of Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan alleging that he
was guilty of violating the model code of conduct by arranging
publication of paid news during the assembly polls last year.
The party contended before the Election Commission that
as per the new guidelines issued for Bihar polls, articles
like those distributed by Chavan should be counted as paid
Senior advocate Uday Lalit argued before the three-member
panel on behalf of Madhav Kinhalkar, who lost to Chavan in the
polls. The argument remained inconclusive and will continue on
BJP leader Kirit Somaiya, who is among those who filed
the petition against Chavan, later said that copies of the 154
articles that have similar news and its commercial aspects
were placed before the Commission today.
He said the Commission was told that as per the
regulations, an amount of Rs 4.4 crore should be mentioned in
the election account of Chavan for the 154 articles.
The matter was heard afresh as a new bench was formed
under Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi in view of
changes in the Commission.
Senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani is appearing for Somaiya,
while another senior lawyer Abhishek Singhvi is appearing for
Chavan. Their arguments would be heard later.
The allegation against Chavan was that he arranged
publication of advertisements praising him, masquerading as
news items, in newspapers during the 2009 state assembly
elections and that he had not properly accounted for the costs
in his election expenditure accounts.