EC breather for Jaswant Lalu, Rabri & Uddhav

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 15 2009, 04:24am hrs
Except for voicing its displeasure over their behaviour, the Election Commission on Monday let off senior politicians who had dared to walk the thin line between inappropriate action and violation of the model code of conduct.

The poll body opted not to frame charges against RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi, senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh and Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray for their inappropriate action during the campaign for the general elections, after going through their responses to notices that had been served on them.

The Commission did not find the replies of Prasad and his wife satisfactory and expressed its strong displeasure to them, deputy election commissioner R Balakrishnan told reporters here. Notice was given to the RJD chief after he said at an election rally that had he been the home minister, he would have crushed BJP candidate Varun Gandhi under a roller without caring for consequences for his anti-Muslim speeches. The RJD chief, however, later clarified that he had only spoken metaphorically. In other words, what he meant was crushing the BJP Lok Sabha candidate under the roller of law.

On the other hand, Rabri, who is also the leader of the Opposition in Bihar Assembly, got the notice for allegedly making insulting personal remarks against CM Nitish Kumar. FIRs have been already filed against both Prasad and Rabri.

When questioned as to why the RJD chief was merely handed a reprimand while it had gone to the extent of recommending to the BJP to withdraw Varuns candidature, the EC maintained that in the latter's case, the BJP Lok Sabha candidates statement had threatened the entire community. You have to see the gravity of the statement, he said.

The Commission also expressed its displeasure to senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh, who was earlier served with a notice for allegedly distributing money during a public meeting in Rajasthans Barmer district. The poll body also rejected the reply given by Uddhav Thackeray for his alleged derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Manmohan

Singh during a rally, and asserted that the poll panel has conveyed its displeasure to the Shiv Sena leader. Balakrishnan said that the Maharashtra EC had now been asked to video track all political meetings of Uddhav Thackeray.

The EC, which had earlier served a notice to Union home minister P Chidambaram for allegedly offering poll sops during a visit to Rajasthan for a security review meeting, asked him to avoid making a statement that could be misinterpreted or misunderstood.