Congress petitions ECI, wants Babanrao Lonikar’s candidature cancelled over “distributed money” remark

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Maharashtra minister Babanrao Lonikar has landed in a spot after being caught on camera purportedly saying he faces no problem in winning the upcoming assembly polls since he has “distributed money”.

While his party, the BJP, on Wednesday said the veracity of the audio-video clip featuring Lonikar should be established first, the Congress has petitioned the Election Commission of India (ECI) seeking cancellation of his candidature.

Lonikar, who holds the water supply portfolio, is the BJP candidate from Partur in Jalna district of central Maharashtra.

The Congress accused Lonikar of violating the model code of conduct in force for the October 21 assembly polls.

State Congress vice-president Ratnakar Mahajan, in a letter to the ECI, said Lonikar is heard on camera saying at an election rally in Jalna that he has no problem in winning since he has “distributed money”.

“This proves that the minister is using corrupt means to get elected. The ECI should file a case of violation of the model code of conduct against the minister and cancel his candidature immediately,” Mahajan said.

He also attached a link of the minister’s speech in his letter to the Chief Electoral Officer.

However, state BJP chief spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said instead of just levelling allegations against a candidate, proper procedure should be followed in the matter.

“The Congress party can file a complaint with the Election Commission which will first verify the alleged clip.

“Proper procedure should be followed rather than levelling allegations against a candidate. We will welcome the outcome,” Bhandari added.-PTI news