NEW DELHI :
Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday ordered removal of two senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders - union minister Anurag Thakur and Lok Sabha member Parvesh Singh Sahib, from its list of star campaigners for Delhi assembly elections. The action was taken as the EC believes comments made by them were prima facie violative of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).
EC communicated this in an order released on Wednesday where it said the removal was to be done with “immediate effect and until further orders". EC’s action comes a day after it sent a show cause notice to Thakur over his comments and he was asked to respond by Thursday noon.
For all elections – national and state level – political parties communicate to the EC a list of its star campaigners which are in most cases prominent political leaders or popular faces. While a recognized national or state party can have a maximum of 40 star campaigners, a registered un-recognised party can nominate a maximum of 20.
One of the key provisions of being a star campaigner is that the travel expenses of such individuals are not to be accounted for in the election expense accounts of candidates of their party.
On Wednesday, EC sent a show cause notice to Singh too on similar lines as Thakur. Singh has been asked to respond by Thursday noon. In its show cause notices to both the leaders, EC said it was prima facie of the view that their comments “have the potential of disturbing communal harmony and aggravating existing social and religious communities", thereby violating the MCC, which has been in effect since the Delhi election schedule was announced on 6 January.