Mumbai, Jul 19: The Election Commission on Thursday granted 14 days of time to BJP leader Gopinath Munde to reply to its showcause notice for disqualification over his poll expense remark. Munde had sought four more weeks' time along with reports of returning officer on expenditure incurred by him during 2009 parliamentary poll after a showcase notice was slapped on him by the poll body.
The EC had served a notice on Munde on June 29, 2013, asking him why he should not be disqualified for "suppressing and undervaluing" his poll campaign expenditure with his public admission of having spent Rs eight crore over it.
The EC had asked Munde to explain within 20 days why action should not be initiated against him under the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, and why he should not be disqualified under the Representation of People Act for his "failure" to maintain a correct account of his election expenses.
The prescribed limit of poll campaign expenditure during the 2009 Parliamentary election was Rs 25 lakh. Munde, who is an MP from Beed and BJP's deputy leader in the Lok Sabha, had on June 27 said during a book launch function in Mumbai that he had spent a whopping Rs eight crore during his 2009 Lok Sabha election campaign. He had stated this in the presence of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and former BJP chief Nitin Gadkari.
The EC notice said that in case he failed to reply within the time stipulated time, "you will render yourself liable, without any further reference to you in the matter, for disqualification under section 10 A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951....for a period of 3 years from the date of order of the Commission..." The EC said that the election expenditure shown by Munde in the 2009 elections was only Rs 19,36,922.