EC censures steel minister Verma over attacks on Modi

EC censures steel minister Verma over attacks on Modi

EC censures steel minister Verma over attacks on Modi

The Election Commission has censured senior Congress leader and Union steel minister Beni Prasad Verma for flouting the model code of conduct repeatedly and targeting BJP leader Narendra Modi with intemperate language and making impugned remarks against the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.

Verma has been making provocative speeches against Modi and drawing the EC’s ire. His latest attack came when he addressed an election rally in Kanpur where he said that the BJP’s mascot for the current year’s polls had fled his home after committing a crime at the age of 20.

The EC conveyed to the Union minister that it viewed repeated violation of model code of conduct by him with “deep concern” and warned him that it might even bar him from campaigning during the current elections if he made such impugned remarks again.

Verma, a senior leader of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh, got a notice from the EC after he raked up the issue of the 2002 riots in Gujarat, while addressing an election rally at Kanpur in the state on April 20. “When Rahul Gandhi will be the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah will go to jail as they will be sentenced to life imprisonment in connection with the Godhra incident,” he said.

The minister went on to claim that Modi, after leaving home, had to do odd jobs like sweeping or selling tea to eke out a living.

 “The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate will end up in a graveyard, but will not be able to reach the office of the Prime Minister,” he added.

The EC on April 24 last issued a notice to Verma for “making derogatory statement” against Modi and thus violating the sub-paragraph 2 of paragraph 1 of the Model Code of Conduct, which provides that “the parties and the candidates shall refrain from criticism of all aspects of private life, not connected with the public activities of the leaders and workers of the parties”.

The EC on Thursday passed an order stating that it was not convinced by the minister’s reply to its notice. The poll panel condemned the impugned statements made by him, censured him for his misconduct and warned him that it would take “strict view” in future.

Verma drew the ire of the EC earlier too. The commission had served him a notice for using intemperate language against Modi and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh while addressing election meetings at Balrampur in Uttar Pradesh. Though the minister replied to the EC’s notice, the poll panel remained convinced that he had made a provocative speech. 

The EC had conveyed its displeasure in an order issued on April 16, but the minister again made similar statements while addressing an election rally in Lucknow on April 19.