EC lets off Kamal Nath with advice over 'item' remark

EC lets off Kamal Nath with advice over 'item' remark, serves notice to Vijayvargiya, Sajjan Verma

The poll-panel on October 21 issued a notice to Nath, after receiving a complaint from the NCW

Congress leader Kamal Nath. Credit: PTI Photo

The Election Commission on Monday let off former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath with an advice, after he conveyed to the poll panel that he had no intent to disrespect Bharatiya Janata Party leader Imarti Devi even as he had recently referred to her as an ‘item’.

The EC advised Kamal Nath, a senior leader of the Congress, that “he should not use any such word or statement” while “making public utterances” during the period when the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) would remain in force.

The poll panel, however, issued a notice to Congress MLA in Madhya Pradesh, Sajjan Singh Verma, for referring to senior BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya as “Ravana” – apparently comparing him with the demon king whom Rama had killed in Ramayana. It also issued a separate notice to Vijayvargiya for referring to Nath and another senior Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Digvijay Singh, as “chunnu munnu”.

The EC asked Vijayvargiya and Verma to send their replies within 48 hours.

The poll-panel on October 21 issued a notice to Nath, after receiving a complaint from the National Commission for Women as well as the BJP about his October 18 comment about Imarti Devi.

It asked him to explain his stand on his controversial remark by October 23.

Nath in his response on October 22 stated that his comment about Imarti Devi was “an admonition of the political scenario” which was “replete with drama”. He also said that “upholding the dignity of women” had been the “cornerstone” of his “public life” and would find “reflection in his actions and administrative policies in a public career spanning over 40 years”.

Imarti Devi won the 2018 state assembly elections from Dabra as a candidate of the Congress. She was a minister in the Congress Government led by Kamal Nath. She was among the 22 MLAs, who left the Congress and joined the BJP with Jyotiraditya Scindia earlier this year, leading to the fall of the Kamal Nath’s government and necessitating the bypolls to fill the vacancies in the state assembly.

Imarti Devi is now contesting the bypolls as the BJP’s candidate. Kamal Nath made the controversial remark about her on October 18 while campaigning for Suresh Raje, whom the Congress fielded against her in Dabra.