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EC slaps notice on RJD for 'bribing' dalits
December 20, 2004 19:00 IST
Last Updated: December 21, 2004 02:43 IST
The Election Commission on Monday issued a notice to Rashtriya Janata Dal, headed by Union Minister for Railways Lalu Prasad Yadav, saying why it should not be derecognised for distributing money to some people near Patna on Saturday in violation of electoral conduct.
The party has been given time till 1500 hours on December 24 for filing its reply to the show cause notice.
The notice was issued under the Symbols Order, Election Commission sources said.
However, Lalu told media persons in Patna that his donations had not violated any electoral code.
He said he had indeed distributed money to dalits in Bihta as shown by a private TV channel, but it was not intended to influence the electorate.
"I give money to poor dalits and not just during election time," Lalu said.
Earlier, on the directive of EC, Chief Electoral Officer K C Saha filed an FIR against Prasad under Section 171(b) of the Indian Penal Code that relates to bribery as an electoral offence and other provisions of the law.
Taking note of media reports that Lalu had distributed money in violation of the model code of conduct and had justified it, the EC held a full meeting chaired by Chief Election Commissioner T S Krishna Murthy and directed the Bihar CEO to file the complaint.
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to remove Lalu from the Cabinet or give a statement on the distribution of money.
"The prime minister should take notice of what his ministers are doing. He should either remove Lalu or give a statement," BJP's deputy leader in Lok Sabha and parliamentary party chief, V K Malhotra, told reporters in New Delhi.
He said Singh would be considered "guilty like Lalu" if action was not taken.
The BJP leader asked EC to take action against Lalu and de-recognise his party.
"The EC should not be a mute spectator," he said.
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