Former CM Kamal Nath
Former CM Kamal Nath
PTI

Former chief minister Kamal Nath replying to ECI’s notice on his ‘item’ remark on the state minister Imarti Devi said that there was neither any premeditation nor design to dishonour a woman or womanhood.  “To me and my party – upholding the honour and dignity of a woman is paramount,” said the Congress leader replying to the Election Commission notice on Friday.

The Election Commission on Wednesday had issued a notice to Nath on his "item" jibe at BJP candidate and state minister Imarti Devi during a public meeting at Dabra, saying his remarks were found to be in violation of the model code in place in the state due to the assembly by-election. The Commission gave Nath 48 hours to explain the remark, failing which action will be taken against him.  “At the very outset, I must state that the remark quoted in the notice is in complete misunderstanding of its context,” said the PCC chief. Nath further stated ‘If the ECI replays the entire speech made on the day, it would understand that there was neither any ill will, nor malice during the entire speech. The speech is a castigation of the theatrics of the BJP and its leaders.

The Supreme Court of India has many times over stated in its landmark judgments that in the heat of elections, many statements come out at the spur of the moment. In this case, there was neither any premeditation nor design to dishonour or indignify a woman or womanhood. It was an admonition of the political scenario which is replete with drama. The incomplete transcript attached along with the notice is neither a reflection nor does justice to the complete speech. I was only castigating the theatrics of the BJP leaders.

‘To me and my party – upholding the honour and dignity of a woman is paramount.

Needless to state, as a former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, the protection of the honour, safety and dignity of women was one of the paramount pillars of my administration.

I have served in different capacities- as a Member of Parliament, as a Union Minister, and as a Chief Minister since 1980 onwards. No allegation of misconduct or ill-tempered remark qua women or anybody has ever been attributed to me – whether inside or outside Parliament.

I hope and trust that the ECI appreciates the present response, in the context of my public track record. The hubris of electioneering cannot and must not ignore the life record of an individual,” read Nath’s reply.

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