Mumbai/New Delhi: The Maharashtra Congress on Tuesday lodged a formal complaint alleging violations of the Model Code of Conduct by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis during the May 28 Lok Sabha by-elections in Palghar.
A three-page plea has been submitted to Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat in the Election Commission headquaters in New Delhi, said Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant. It details various instances whereby Fadnavis allegedly violated the Model Code of Conduct in force during the election, making announcements of various schemes, missing voters names and other discrepancies.
The plea has been sent in the name of the defeated Congress candidate in Palghar, Damodar Shingada, ex-MP, demanding strong action against Fadnavis and other concerned officials. Shingada pointed out that during the election, the Congress complained to the Returning Officers several times regarding these violations but no action was taken against them by the EC.
Shingada highlighted Fadnavis’ announcements promising waiver of ‘khavati’ loans and disbursal of new ‘khavati’ loans for tribals, a new medical college in Palghar, excluding 29 villages from the jurisdiction of Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation.
Then came Fadnavis’ hugely controversial statements exhorting BJP workers to use “Saam Daam, Dand Bhed” to win Palghar elections at any cost, which Shingada described as a threat to ‘the people and opposition parties’, the instances of BJP workers caught distributing cash at the behest of local district party chief, and violation of the Rs 70 lakh spending limit by the winning BJP candidate Rajendra Gavit.
The plea also pointed out how a large number of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) — 282 in Palghar and 250 in Bhandara-Gondiya — were down due to technical glitches for hours, the shocking instance of two Election Officers transporting the EVMs post-polling in a private car and names of many voters missing in Palghar.
The Congress complaint came six days after the Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray termed the Palghar Lok Sabha bypolls “a farce”. On May 31, Thackeray had charged that large-scale manipulations were carried out in the EVMs with the knowledge of the EC officials. In the two Lok Sabha bypolls in the state, the Bharatiya Janata Party retained the Palghar seat trouncing the main Sena rival, but it lost the Bhandara-Gondiya seat to the Nationalist Congress Party.