The Election Commission on Thursday delisted DMK MP and former Minister A Raja from the star campaigners' list and debarred him from campaigning for 48 hours with immediate effect for making a "derogatory and scandalous" speech against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami.
The commission also advised Raja to be "watchful and not to make intemperate, indecent, derogatory, obscene remarks and lower the dignity of women in the future during the election campaign".
The commission's action came a day after it found Raja's reply unsatisfactory regarding the allegations charged against him. Raja has submitted his reply to the EC on Wednesday denying all charges against him after the commission in a notice on March 30 directed him to explain his position in this regard.
In its Thursday order, the Commission said, "You (A. Raja) had submitted your interim reply on March 31 denying the allegations. It is requested to give you an opportunity to give detailed reply and personal hearing with your advocate.
"Your reply was not found satisfactory. It was also observed that asking for more time to represent is an attempt to buy time which the Commission cannot afford to give in the midst of elections."
After considering all facts, documents, reports and your reply on March 31, the commission further said, "it reprimands you for violation of model code of conduct".
"The commission delists your name from the list of star campaigner of DMK and debars you from campaigning for 48 hours with immediate effect. The commission also advises you to be watchful and not to make intemperate, indecent, derogatory, obscene remarks and lower the dignity of women in future during election campaign."
The commission received a complaint on March 27 through Chief Electoral Officer Tamil Nadu from All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), wherein it was alleged that Raja had made derogatory and scandalous speech against the Chief Minister during the election campaign on March 26 at Thousand Lights Assembly constituency.
The commission had obtained a factual report in the matter from Chief Electoral Officer Tamil Nadu, and it was reported that Central Crime Branch was registered a case under sections of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
On the basis of the preliminary reports and the transcripts of the statement, the commission said, "You had made among others the speeches at Keelapur and Meensuruti."
In the Keelapur speech at 7 p.m., EC mentioned, "You had inter-alia stated that Stalin (DMK President and the son of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi) is a child of good relationship and good birth while Palaniswami is a child of bad relationship and a premature born child".
"In your Meensurupatti speech at 8.30 p.m. you have stated that (i) you crawled and held Sasikala's feet to come to this position (ii) ...But EPS who considers that he is having knowledge and dignity, just for the sake of CM post, crawled and held Sasikala's feet who is almost equal in age or to say who is six months younger. You crawled prayed on her feet, isn't it how you came (iii)...Whereas, born in an illegal manner, in a premature birth is EPS."
After considering the statements and reports, the commission found the contents of the speech only derogatory but also obscene and lower the dignity of motherhood of women.
The poll panel said it is a serious violation of the provisions of model code of conduct.