EC may act against state BJP president for ‘Laxmi’ remark

Staff ReporterUpdated: Thursday, May 30, 2019, 10:32 AM IST
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Mumbai: The Bharatiya Janta Party-led state government can’t seem to stay away from trouble these days. After the recent controversy involving dairy development minister Mahadev Jankar against whom a complaint was filed with the State Election Commissioner (SEC), the BJP State President Raosaheb Danve has raked up another one.

The opposition parties – Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Aam Aadami Party (AAP) – have filed a complaint against Danve with the State Election Commission, accusing him of misconduct. SEC commissioner J S Saharia has taken serious view of the complaint and assured the opposition that he would issue a show cause notice to Danve in the next few days.

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Danve had suggested voters not to refuse “Laxmi” (money) if she comes a day ahead of the elections on Saturday in an election rally at Paithan in Aurangabad district.

However, on Monday, he denied the allegations and said his statement was misinterpreted. “I wanted to say welcome Goddess Lakshmi and did not mean money,” said Mr Danve.

NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik, Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant along with Raju Waghmare and Rajesh Sharma met Saharia on Monday. Malik said, “Danve is answerable to the people and he must clarify whether acceptance of money was BJP’s official strategy?” Malik said SEC should also ask for a clarification from BJP legislator Paskal Dhanare who had threatened an excise officer for liquor bottles. Dhanare represents Dahanu constituency.

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Sawant said that as the president of ruling BJP, Danve’s statement becomes a guideline for the party cadre to follow across the state. “We fear that after Danve openly accepted money it is bound to affect the results of the municipal council polls held on December 18. We are justified in demanding that a show cause notice is issued to Danve. A case must be registered against him and strict action should be taken,” demanded Sawant. He added Saharia had heard him out and taken cognisance. AAP spokesperson Preeti Sharma-Menon too had filed complaint with state election commission.

Both Congress and NCP argued that the state BJP presidents statement amounts to asking people to take bribes ahead of the Elections which is not only un-democratic, corrupt statement but is also a blatant violation of the Election Commissions model code of conduct. They said that the statement requires to be examined in the context of Prevention of Corruption Act and Peoples Representation Act too.

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Dairy development minister Jankar is already facing the heat for his alleged attempt to pressurise local election official over telephone into treating a Congress candidate as an Independent candidate in a civic ward in the election to Desaiganj municipal council. Mr Jankar is now facing a court case in the matter.

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