NEW DELHI: Talking action in a case of failure of providing complete and true details of election expenditure, the poll panel disqualified former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda from contesting elections for three years.
“Unfair elections strike at the root of democracy. With a mass media-oriented campaign, any candidate can effectively polarize a decidedly large proportion of vote towards him. Undecided voters, instead of being able to decide on the candidate’s merit, fall victim to the bandwagon effect due to the illusion of mass support by such a candidate, ” the Commission has observed in the Order issued on Wednesday.
The case relates to the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, in which the politician won from the Singhbhum Lok Sabha seat in Jharkhand.
An order issued by the Election Commission said that Koda stands disqualified for three years from today for ‘failing to lodge his account of election expenses in the manner required by the law and for having no good reason or justification for such failure’. The order also said that the information provided by the politician regarding election expenditure was not true.
The Commission order signed by Chief Election Commissioner A K Joti and Election Commissioner O P Rawat cited section 10-A of the Representation of the People Act to disqualify Koda.
Earlier, in October 2010, the poll panel had issued a notice to Koda asking him as to why he should not be disqualified on the ground that he had allegedly shown the election expenses much less than the actual amount of Rs 18,92,353.
Thereafter, an investigation was conducted by the income tax department.
“It is unfortunate that voters are exploited by this show of money power and ECI has to maintain the ethical responsibility for conducting free fair and transparent elections. Honest law abiding candidates should not be sidelined by those willing to contravene the law and distort the lines of morality for the sake of being elected to the Parliament or state legislatures,” observed the commission in its order.