The Election Commission (EC) on Friday pulled up Madhya Pradesh minister and BJP MLA Yashodhara Raje for violating the model code of conduct by “intimidating” voters in a village while campaigning for bypolls. Raje, addressing a meeting in Parora village, had told voters that they will not be guaranteed water supply if they vote for the hand symbol (Congress). Although Raje said the statement was made in a private meeting and, hence, did not amount to model code violation, the EC felt otherwise.
“On consideration of the part of the speech referred to in the complaint and copy of which was provided to you in CD, the Commission is satisfied that the statements therein amount to intimidation of voters in as much as there is clear element of threat to the electors that if they vote on the ‘hand’ symbol, they may be denied benefits of certain government schemes. It is admitted that you were addressing a group of people,” the poll panel said in its order.
Allegations flew thick and fast ahead of bypolls to Kolaras and Mungaoli constituencies in MP on Saturday. Complaints were filed by the ruling BJP and Opposition Congress against each other. Four FIRs were filed for violence and violation of model code over the last four hours. Two MLAs were arrested for overstaying in poll-bound areas and released on bail.
The BJP and Congress accused each other of influencing voters by distributing money, but EC said it did not find any such evidence. Congress candidate in Kolaras Mahendra Yadav was injured on Thursday allegedly when police resorted to cane charge to disperse activists of both parties. Counting of votes will take place on February 28.