Today's Paper

EC disqualifies Minister in M.P.

Narottam Mishra.  

The Election Commission on Saturday disqualified Narottam Mishra, Minister in the Madhya Pradesh government from membership of any State legislature and contesting polls for the next three years for filing wrong accounts of election expenditure.

Mr. Mishra’s membership has been revoked under section 10A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, to be read with Sections 77 and 78 of the Act. This relates to providing wrong information to the Commission on expenses incurred during the polls.

His election was challenged by Rajinder Bharti (Congress) who had contested against him in the Datia constituency in the 2008 Assembly poll. Mr. Mishra’s election has been termed void.

A protracted case, the matter was heard in the Madhya Pradesh High Court and the Supreme Court after Mr. Mishra tried to get relief from the notice served by the EC, but was unsuccessful.

The EC also took cognisance of a report by the Committee on Paid News of the Press Council of India, that examined this case. The EC had served notice to Mr. Mishra on January 15, 2013.

‘Paid for news’

The EC’s 69-page order cites the issue of “paid news.” Mr. Mishra had paid for favourable coverage in newspapers in Datia during the course of the elections but had failed to mention expenses incurred for the same. Three specific “news items” were mentioned by the EC in order to clarify this point.

The Congress has demanded Mr. Mishra’s resignation.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said he was “yet to see the full order” to comment on the case.