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Madhu Koda barred from contesting elections for 3 years

It is unfortunate that voters are exploited by this show of money power and EC has to maintain ethical responsibility for conducting free polls: Election Commission

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Madhu Koda barred from contesting elections for 3 years
Madhu Koda
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The Election Commission on Wednesday barred former chief minister of Jharkhand, Madhu Koda for three years from fighting elections. The poll watchdog found Koda guilty on several counts including paid news and spending far beyond the prescribed limit of Rs 25 lakh and failing to file details of expenses in 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

Koda had won the 2009 polls from the Singhbhum Lok Sabha seat in Jharkhand.

In an order signed by the Chief Election Commissioner A K Jyoti and Election Commissioner, OP Rawat, the Commission said 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 49-page-long order giving details of the proceedings on six counts against Koda cited section 10 A of the Representation of the People Act to disqualify him

The Commission had been hearing the case against Koda for allegedly furnishing false election expenditure records after the 2009 polls.

Koda was elected as independent MP in 2009, and in October 2010 the Election Commission had issued notice to him 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.

The order said the account of poll expenses submitted by the Jharkhand politician was "untrue and false".

Noting that unfair elections strike at the root of democracy, the Commission said, "With a mass media oriented campaign, any candidate can effectively polarise a decidedly large proportion of votes 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 created by such candidate. It is unfortunate that voters are exploited by this show of money power and the ECI has to maintain ethical responsibility for conducting free and fair."

Koda had moved the Delhi high court questioning EC's jurisdiction, but the poll panel was given a go ahead by the court to proceed against the politician.

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