Maharashtra EC hauls up minister for harassing poll officer

Updated: Dec 06, 2016, 11:55 IST | Dharmendra Jore |

The commission has sent a show cause notice to Mahadev Jankar for pressuring an officer to scrap opposition candidate's nomination

Mahadev Jankar
Mahadev Jankar

The Maharashtra Election Commission has served a show cause notice to the minister of dairy development and fisheries, Mahadev Jankar, for pressurising an election officer to grant an independent candidate a particular poll symbol, and scrapping the nomination of a Congress candidate in an upcoming civic poll. The commissioner has now given Jankar 24 hours to explain his position or face action.

Intimidation of an officer?
The matter is related to the presidential candidate poll in Vadsa Desaiganj, Vidarbha, which is scheduled to be held soon. Jankar landed in trouble when a video of him capturing his intimidating conversation with the returning officer went viral on Monday, the first day of the state legislature's winter session.

Jankar has denied allegations and said that the candidate in question was supported by his party so he had requested the returning officer to allot him his party's election symbol: cup and saucer. However, in the video, Jankar is also heard directing the officer to scrap the nomination of a Congress nominee. Now, based on a complaint made by the Congress party, commissioner JS Saharia issued Jankar the show cause notice on Monday.

Party politics at play
Jankar, president of Rashtriya Samaj Paksh, which is a small alliance partner for the BJP, was inducted in the cabinet earlier this year. A couple of months ago, he had also invited the ire of NCP workers after using derogatory language against ex-deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar. Following this, CM Devendra Fadnavis had reprimanded Jankar.
Later in the day, a miffed Narayan Rane said his party would demand Jankar's resignation in the house on Tuesday. "The minister has broken election law and misused his ministerial position to influence the system," he said.

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