Elections 2019: Election Commission rejects BJP demand against Raj Thackeray's MNS party

Updated: May 05, 2019, 07:50 IST | Sanjeev Shivadekar

However, the ECI has further mentioned that any expenditure on this campaign would be accounted for in the party account and election expenditure for the same shall be lodged by the party with the commission within 90 days of completion of Lok Sabha

Elections 2019: Election Commission rejects BJP demand against Raj Thackeray's MNS party
Raj Thackeray

The Election Commission has rejected the BJP demand that expenditure incurred on the MNS rallies be added to the expense accounts of opposition candidates (Congress-NCP). Though the MNS is not contesting the election, party chief Raj Thackeray has been slamming the BJP, especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah. Irked with Thackeray's tirade against the party, the BJP complained to the EC.

Senior BJP leader and state education minister Vinod Tawde had written a letter to state authorities demanding that the expenditure incurred on Raj's rallies should be added to the expenses accounts of the opposition candidates (Congress-NCP). The BJP even demanded that details of the expenditure incurred on Thackeray rallies should be sought from the MNS.

Also Read: Elections 2019 Phase 4: Here's all that transpired during Lok Sabha polls

Accordingly, the chief electoral officer (CEO, Maharashtra) had referred the complaint to the Election Commission of India (ECI) and asked for guidance on how to proceed ahead with the issue. In its reply, the ECI authorities have categorically mentioned that campaign carried out by Raj Thackeray is not candidate specific. "It is understood that the MNS party has not fielded their candidate in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls. The campaign carried out by the MNS will be treated as general party propaganda," the reply from the ECI forwarded to CEO Maharashtra mentions. mid-day is in possession of the ECI letter.

However, the ECI has further mentioned that any expenditure on this campaign would be accounted for in the party account and election expenditure for the same shall be lodged by the party with the commission within 90 days of completion of Lok Sabha polls.

The MNS chief addressed nine rallies and had flagged off his campaign from. Former chief minister of Maharashtra and state Congress president Ashok Chavan is contesting Lok Sabha polls from this constituency. In 2014, during the Modi wave, Congress had managed to win only two seats - Nanded and Hingoli. Chavan bagged the Nanded seat and close confidante of Congress President Rahul Gandhi - Rajeev Satav won the Hingoli Lok Sabha seat.

It was during the Nanded rally that Thackeray attacked Modi and Shah and urged voters to remove Modi-Shah duo from the country's landscape for the well being off the nation. In fact, Thackeray screened videos from Modi's speeches delivered before and after 2014 polls to exhibit contradictions from the ruling party leaders.

On the last day of the poll campaign, Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar addressed the press conference and replayed videos that Thackeray had used in rallies. The BJP leader claimed that videos were not played completely and only part of it was showed to citizens as per convenience and strategy to malign the image of the PM. After repeated attempts, both MNS and BJP leaders were not available for the comment.

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