Congress on Saturday demanded the resignation of Madhya Pradesh minister Narottam Mishra in the wake of the Election Commission(EC) order disqualifying him for three years. “In view of the EC order, he should immediately resign from the Cabinet,” the leader of opposition, Ajay Singh, told reporters.
The Election Commission disqualified Mishra from contesting polls for filing wrong accounts of election expenditure in the 2008 assembly polls. His election from the Datia Assembly constituency also stands void. “It has been proved how the BJP ministers are winning the polls,” Singh said. Mishra is Water Resources and Legislative Affairs minister in the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government. Yadav, who is the state Congress president, claimed that the case against Mishra was related to paid news.
“MP Minister Narottam Mishra disqualified for three years by poll panel for paid news in elections. Big setback for BJP in MP,” All India Congress Committee (AICC) legal, human rights and RTI cell chairman and senior advocate Vivek Tankha said in a tweet. The Aam Aadmi Party’s MP unit also demanded the resignation of the minister. However, BJP chief spokesman Deepak Vijaywargiya said the party is studying the EC order and will comment only after that on the matter.
An officer close to the minister said that he is exploring legal options against the EC order. Considered as number two in the state cabinet, headed by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Mishra is also holding charge of Public Relations Department. Mishra was first elected as MLA in 1990. He was elected to assembly again in 1998 and 2003, and inducted as minister for the first time in the then chief minister Babulal Gaur’s cabinet in 2005. He continued during Chouhan’s tenure.
The complaint against Mishra was filed by former MLA Rajendra Bharti in 2009 for allegedly adopting corrupt practices in 2008 assembly elections. Bharti in his complaint said that Mishra had not shown in his poll expenses details of amount spent on election-related advertisements which comes under the category of paid news. He had contested the assembly polls against Mishra from Datia assembly seat in 2008 and also in 2013.
Bharti lost the polls on both the occasions and filed a complaint of alleged corrupt practices adopted by Mishra under The Representation of the People Act, 1951.