Cash distributing case: Mulayam gets clean chit from poll panel

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 2 2009, 04:12am hrs
Accepting his explanation that he was following tradition, the Election Commission has let off Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, embroiled in a controversy recently after being filmed distributing cash during a function in Etawah, his home constituency.

Mulayam Singh came under the EC net after television channels telecast video footage showing him and his workers distributing cash at a holi milan programme. The EC promptly issued a showcause notice to him asking him why should it not be treated as a violation of the code of conduct. Besides Mulayam, Congress MP and Bollywood actor Govinda was also issued a notice by the EC for distributing cash during a function.

In his response, the SP leader, however, contended that giving reward to people during Holi was part of the festivities in Uttar Pradesh. He had maintained that money had been distributed to artists performing holi folk songs, which was an accepted ritual in north Indian states.

The Commission has decided not to proceed further on the matter, deputy election commissioner R Balakrishnan told reporters here. He, however, refused to comment on allegation that the EC was soft on Yadav but was harsh on BJP candidate from Pilibhit Varun Gandhi. The issue of alleged controversial remarks made by Yadav against the Mainpuri district magistrate-cum-returning officer, however, is still before the poll body.

According to a CMS study, vote buying is rampant during election time and many candidates use it to influence voters. It had contended that at least Rs 2,500 crore out of the Rs 10,000 crore expected to be spent during the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections is likely to be in the form of unofficial money.