The Congress on Monday alleged that the Election Commission's reducing of Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang's disqualification period by almost five years gives the "clear message" that one is immunised from the law of the land if that person sings praises for the government.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said recent examples of Prem Singh Tamang's case, the Home Ministry's decision to commute the death sentence of Balwant Singh Rajoana in the assassination case of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh, and the Chinmayanand case in Uttar Pradesh, have a running thread of "complete abuse of law".
The actions in these cases send a "clear message that you are immunised from the law of the land if you chant ''Tussi great ho'' (you are great), day in and day out, and you are subjected to harassment, vendetta, if you do not chant this. It exhibits extreme irresponsibility about the law," Mr Singhvi said at a press conference.
The Election Commission on Sunday reduced Prem Singh Tamang's disqualification period by almost five years under a provision of the electoral law, paving the way for him to contest the state assembly elections.
His disqualification period of six years, during which he was barred from contesting polls, began on August 10, 2018 -- the day he completed a year's jail term in a corruption case. It was to end on August 10, 2024. But the Election Commission (EC) on Sunday reduced it to one year and one month.
Prem Singh Tamang, whose Sikkim Krantikari Morcha Party won the state assembly elections held in April, took over as chief minister on May 27. However, he could not contest the elections due to his disqualification.
He has to contest assembly polls within six months of becoming the chief minister to hold the office.
Mr Tamang was found guilty of misappropriation of government funds in a cow distribution scheme while he was minister of animal husbandry in the 1990s.
Referring to Mr Tamang's conviction, Mr Singhvi said he was guilty of what could be called a ''chaara ghotala'' (fodder scam).
Mr Singhvi also drew a parallel with former Bihar chief minister Lalu Yadav, saying if he wants relief, he also must sing praises for the government.
"I wonder how many people in the country are fortunate enough to get this benevolence, this largesse, this generosity of a generous Election Commission and of a super generous government of India.
"I would suggest all such people who want this generosity, (they) should start chanting a different mantra," he said.
A case was registered in 2003 under the Prevention of Corruption Act that was subsequently repealed. Mr Tamang has served the full sentence.
The EC order said Mr Tamang's disqualification stands reduced to one year and one month.
In July, Tamang had requested the poll panel to waive his disqualification period under Section 11 of the Representation of the People Act.
Under the provisions of the law, the EC can reduce or remove a person's disqualification.