The Election Commission of India on Thursday, with immediate effect, barred former Telecom Minister A Raja from campaigning in the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections for 48 hours holding that he had violated the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) by making certain remarks against AIADMK leader and Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami. It also removed him from the list of DMK’s star speakers besides reprimanding him and advising him to be watchful and not to make intemperate, indecent, derogatory, obscene remarks and lower the dignity of women during election campaign.
An attempt by Raja to move the Madras High Court challenging the decision was unsuccessful with the judges refusing to hear the plea on an urgent basis.
“After considering your statements and reports, the Commission had found the contents of the speech made by you not only derogatory but also obscene and seen to be lowering the dignity of motherhood of women, which is a serious violation of the provisions of the MCC,” the order issued by ECI Secretary Malay Mallick said.
The poll body rejected Raja’s interim reply on March 31 in which he denied the allegations and asked for a copy of full text of his abusive speech, copy of the complaint preferred by the AIADMK and requested for an opportunity to give detailed reply and the benefit of a personal hearing.
“The Commission has considered your reply and the same was not found satisfactory. It was also observed that asking for the above said details and more time to represent is an attempt to buy time which the Commission cannot afford to give in the midst of elections,” the order said.
Among the remarks of Raja, which the Commission found offensive was, “…Stalin is a child of good relationship and good birth while Edappadi Palaniswami is a child of bad relationship and a premature born child.” The Commission also disapproved of his reference to the Chief Minister crawling and holding Sasikala’s feet to come to his position.