7 BJP leaders charged for alleged poll code breach, nominee gets notice

JABALPUR: Seven BJP leaders, including former Union minister Prahlad Patel and city mayor Swati Godbole, have been charged for allegedly violating the model code of conduct in Madhya Pradesh, officials said on Tuesday. Besides, BJP’s Jabalpur Lok Sabha seat candidate Rakesh Singh has also been issued a show cause notice for alleged violation of the poll code, district collector and returning officer Chhavi Bhardwaj said.

As per rules, only five persons including the party candidate are allowed to enter office of the returning officer during filing of nomination papers, she said. But, when Mr Singh filed his nomination on Monday, more than five people entered the office, she said. Besides, those part of the BJP candidate’s procession also entered within 100 metres of the district election office, which was a prohibited area, she said.

After examining CCTV footage of the election office, a case was registered at Omti police station on Monday night against Mr Patel, Ms Godbole, former ministers Ajay Vishnoi and Sharad Jain, MLAs Sushil Tiwari and Ashok Rohani, and Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha state president Akhilesh Pandey, district superintendent of police Nimesh Agrawal said. Patel is the sitting BJP MP from Damoh seat in Madhya Pradesh.

The returning officer has also recommended suspension of Omti police station in-charge, city superintendent of police and Homeguards district commandant, who were responsible for security in the area, for alleged dereliction of duty, Nimesh Agrawal said. Former advocate general PK Kaurav, who is the counsel for BJP leaders, said they will move the high court to challenge the action taken by the poll officer under IPC section 188 (disobedience to the order promulgated by public servant)

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