The Election Commission on Wednesday issued a notice to former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and Congress leader Kamal Nath on his "item" jibe at BJP candidate Imarti Devi, saying his remarks were found to be in violation of the model code in place in the state due to the assembly by-election.
"Now, therefore, the Commission gives you an opportunity to explain your stand in making the above said statement within 48 hours of receipt of this notice, failing which the Election Commission of India shall take a decision without further reference to you," the notice said.
Addressing a poll meeting on Sunday in Gwalior's Dabra town, where the BJP has fielded Imarti Devi, Kamal Nath had said the Congress candidate was a "simple person" unlike his opponent who was an "item".
Madhya Pradesh BJP leaders, led by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, on Monday held a protest against Kamal Nath, while the National Commission for Women sought an explanation from the Congress leader for his remark.
You should not make Madhya Pradesh a source of loot and to serve your and your party's interests, said Shivraj Singh Chouhan responding to Congress leader Kamal Nath.
Chouhan wrote back to the former CM in response to the letter in which he had accused him and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of creating a controversy around his 'item; remark.
"Kamal Nath ji, learn to love Madhya Pradesh and its people. Even though you are not from Madhya Pradesh, people here are trying to accept you. Therefore it is your duty to think of the interests of the state's residents," Chouhan's letter read.
"This should never happen that you make Madhya Pradesh a source of loot, and serve your own interests and that of your party. I hope you will consider this," the letter added.
Earlier in his letter to the MP CM, Kamal Nath had claimed he had made no disrespectful comments at the rally in Dabra yet the BJP was spreading lies over it.
"In the rally at Dabra I made no disrespectful comments, then too you forwarded lies and the word which you are referring to has many meanings, many definitions, but due to fault in your and your party's thoughts are defining it as per your whim and spreading lies and are trying to mislead the public," Kamal Nath's letter read.
The former CM asserted that the state's voters knew that it was another ploy by the BJP to retain power by taking the discourse of the elections away from the main issues.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi onTuesday disapproved of Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath's 'item' remark against Minister Imarti Devi, sayingit was 'unfortunate'.
"One cannot treat women with disrespect. Kamalnath ji isfrom my party. But I don't personally like that type oflanguage that Kamalnath ji has used. I do not appreciate it. It is unfortunate", Gandhi, on a three day visit to Kerala,told reporters here.
The Wayanad MP said a lot needed to be improved with regard to treatment of women in the country be it basic respect, space accorded to them in business, in government and other areas.
"Our women are our pride. They should be protected and I don't appreciate this type of language..", he said.
Kamal Nath, who is the state Congress president, had later expressed regret over it and asserted that he did not say anything disrespectful.
Bypolls to 28 Madhya Pradesh Assembly seats will be held on November 3.