- Kamal Nath is no longer Congress star campaigner in Madhya Pradesh
- Bypolls are due next week in the state
- The poll body's decision came after a series of controversial remarks
A day after the Election Commission said Congress's Kamal Nath is no longer the star campaigner for his party in Madhya Pradesh - where bypolls are due next week - the ex-chief minister questioned the poll body's decision. Mr Nath's star campaigner status was revoked for "repeated violation of model code of conduct" and for "complete disregard" of warnings to him, the poll body said on Friday.
"Which post or position this star campaigner has? The Election Commission had not given me any notice, nor had it asked me about it. Why they are doing this in the last two days of campaigning only they know," the 73-year-old leader, who was widely criticised for calling BJP's Imarti Devi "item", told news agency PTI.
The veteren leader, while campaigning in Dabra, had mocked Imarti Devi saying the Congress candidate was a "simple person" unlike his rival, who was an "item".
Defending his choice of words, the nine-time Lok Sabha MP today said: "I was in Lok Sabha for so many years. There it is mentioned in the agenda sheet, item number 1, item number 2... That was on my mind. I did not say it to disrespect anyone. Yet, I had said that if someone feels insulted, then I express regret."
On Friday, the Congress's Madhya Pradesh unit said it would challenge the election body's decision in court.
The Congress will return to power in Madhya Pradesh next month, said Mr Nath, whose 15-month old government collapsed earlier this year after Jyotidatiya Scindia's switchover from the Congress to the BJP along with 22 MLAs.
"Voters in MP are simple, naive and poor, but they are also intelligent. have full faith in people and voters of the state, especially from these 28 seats. They are aware that the (BJP) government, which came to power by trading people's mandate, has not been able to change anything in the last seven months."
By-elections are being held on November 3 to fill 28 vacant seats in the Madhya Pradesh assembly. Most of these fell vacant when Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia revolted earlier this year and defected to the BJP, taking along 22 MLAs.
(With inputs from PTI)