EC lets off Maneka with warning

Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

The Election Commission on Monday let off Union Minister Maneka Gandhi with condemnation and warning even after concluding that the Bharatiya Janata Party leader again flouted Model Code of Conduct and resorted to “corrupt practices” while seeking votes at Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh.

The EC strongly condemned the statement Maneka Gandhi made while seeking votes at Sarkoda village in Sultanpur Lok Sabha constituency of Uttar Pradesh on April 14. The commission also warned her against repeating such misconduct in future.

The poll-panel had earlier this month barred the Union Minister for Women and Child Development from electioneering for 48 hours after she had warned Muslims at Turab Khani village in Sultanpur that she would not do anything if they would not vote for her.

She again drew condemnation from the EC after she said at Sarkoda on April 14 that she might do in Sultanpur what she used to do in Pilibhit (where she was elected from several times in the past) – dividing the villages of the constituency in A, B, C and D categories according to the number of votes people of the villages had given her and accordingly setting the pace for development works in the villages after the elections.

The EC observed in its order on Monday that Maneka Gandhi had again violated the Representation of People's Act 1951, which had identified “bribery” as “corrupt practices”. The poll-panel also referred to the Model Code of Conduct which required all political parties and all candidates to scrupulously avoid all activities, which were identified as “corrupt practices” and offences under election law, such as bribing and intimidation of voters.

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