BHOPAL: Frowning at a series of controversial remarks, the Election Commission has stripped Kamal Nath of his status as a "star campaigner" in the Madhya Pradesh by-polls next week. The poll panel said the senior leader's special status was being scrapped for "repeated violations of model code of conduct" and for "complete disregard" of warnings given to him. Without mincing words, the EC said Nath had repeatedly "breached ethical and dignified behaviour."
Result: Now, if Nath does campaign, the cost of his travel and stay will be borne by the candidate. As against this, a "star campaigner's" expenses are funded by the party coffers. Congress's state unit has said it would challenge the decision in court.
After the ‘item’ slur for a woman BJP candidate, on October 13, Nath said at a rally that Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is a "nautanki kalakar" who should act in films in Mumbai. By-elections are being held on November 3 to fill 28 vacant seats in the Madhya Pradesh assembly. Most of these fell vacant when Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia revolted earlier this year and defected to the BJP, taking along 22 MLAs.
In another development, the EC has advised BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya to avoid using words that violate the model code of conduct. The BJP leader had referred to Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and Kamal Nath as “Chunnu and Munnu” while addressing a public meeting.