Baramati Collector Naval Kishore Ram, who is also the district election officer, on Wednesday said the Election Commission (EC) did not impose any ban on NCP chief Sharad Pawar from staying put in Baramati after campaigning ended there on Sunday evening. The NCP, too, said Pawar decided to leave Baramati on his own.
“We had not issued any ban orders on Mr Sharad Pawar,” the DEO said when asked whether Pawar was banned from Baramati where he is a house. At a press conference in Mumbai on Monday, Pawar had said that he was banned by the election office from staying put in Baramati after the campaigning came to an end on Sunday.
The district collector said the ban is imposed on an “outsider” who is campaigning and is not a resident and a voter in that particular constituency. “Pawar lives in Baramati though he might not be a voter in the constituency. We cannot ask people living in the constituency to move out if they are not a voter…,” he said. Pawar is a voter in Mumbai.
Ram said he has verified with the Pune rural police regarding imposition of a ban on Sharad Pawar. “The rural police too had not issued any such ban orders,” he said. The local BJP unit had apparently complained to the election office that Pawar should not be allowed to stay put in Baramati after the campaigning ended it violated the election norms.
NCP spokesperson Ankush Kakade said the election office had not banned Pawar from entering or staying put in Baramati after the campaigning ended. “Pawarsaheb on his own decided to move out of Baramati. This is because of the hue and cry raised by the local BJP unit,” he said.
BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said Pawar by moving out of Baramati has followed the election rules and regulations. “He did the right thing. If he had stayed back, then it would have violated the election. Pawar was campaigning for his party. And the election rule says if an individual is campaigning and is not a voter in that constituency, he cannot stay back after the campaigning is ended. This is rule is applicable to all the voters across the country and Pawar is not an exception,” he said.
When pointed out that the election office had not banned Pawar from staying put in Baramati, Bhandari said since Pawar himself has followed the rule, BJP had no complaint aginst him. “Pawar himself decided to move out of Baramati since he knew he was a campaigner who cannot stay back,” he said.
Bhandari said Pawar became a voter in Mumbai because he wanted to become the chairman of the cricket board.