In an unprecedented action, the Maharashtra legislative assembly sent the state’s Chief Election Commissioner Nand Lal to jail for two days for bringing impediments in the working of its privileges committee. Shortly after the order, Nand Lal was picked up by the police from his office in south Mumbai and taken to the Arthur Road Jail. The two-day imprisonment is a reduced version of the seven-day imprisonment recommended by the house privileges committee that went into the issue of the breach of privilege of the house allegedly committed by the senior bureaucrat by issuing a special gazette notification during the 2006 local bodies election in the state ‘amending’ the state law governing them. While Nand Lal described his arrest as political vendetta for not succumbing to pressure from Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh regarding delimitation of the Latur assembly constituency, privileges committee Chief Janardan Chandurkar said the panel had sought opinion of the solicitor general of Maharashtra and the Lok Sabha secretariat. Nand Lal has been the state election commissioner since June 15, 2004. His relations with the Democratic Front government, however, have not been at their best, particularly with Deshmukh. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator and the party’s state unit chief Nitin Gadkari condemned the government’s ‘malafide’ action against Nand Lal, a constitutional authority. With cameraperson Abhay Prasad, Rajeev Mishra for NMTV News.
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