The Election Commission on Monday let off former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath with a warning for his "item" jibe against a woman BJP candidate and advised the Congress leader not to use such language in public during the period of the Model Code of Conduct.
The EC said it is of the considered view that Kamal Nath, by making the "item" remark against BJP minister Imarti Devi, had violated provisions of the model code.
The poll panel had issued a notice to Kamal Nath after he had used the jibe against BJP candidate Imarti Devi at an election rally, drawing an angry reaction from the ruling party.
At the poll meeting last week in Gwalior's Dabra town, where the BJP has fielded Imarti Devi, Kamal Nath had said the Congress candidate was a "simple person" unlike his opponent who was an "item".
Following a complaint by the state BJP and reference by the National Commission for Women, the EC had served the notice to Kamal Nath.
The Commission on Monday issued an order against the Congress leader.
"...the Commission, hereby advises Kamal Nath, ex-chief minister Madhya Pradesh that while making public utterances he should not use any such word or statement during the period of Model Code of Conduct," the order said.
It said Kamal Nath used the word "item" for a lady and that "this constitutes violation" of advisory issued by the Commission relating to the model code.
In his response to the notice, Kamal Nath said that "to him and his party, upholding the honour and dignity of a woman is paramount".
He also referred to Supreme Court judgments which observed that in the heat of elections, many statements come out at the spur of the moment. "In this case, there was neither any premeditation nor design to dishonour or in-dignify a woman or womanhood...," he said.
Meanwhile, the EC on Monday also issued a notice to BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya for his reported "chunnu-munnu" remark against Congress leaders Digvijaya Singh and Kamal Nath, asking him to respond within the next 48 hours.
The notice said the statement made in Sanwer, Indore during an election rally on October 14 against the two was found to be in violation of the provisions of the model code. The notice is based on the report received from the chief electoral officer of Madhya Pradesh.