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Prez move spells trouble for Kalyan Singh over PM praise

NEW DELHI: Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh may face action for campaigning for Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the national election. After the Election Commission said he had violated the rules of his constitutional post, President Ram Nath Kovind has sent the file to the government for "necessary action".

President Kovind forwarded the letter to the home ministry after returning from an international visit.

It is the first time in independent India that a Governor has been found violating the model code of conduct and campaigning for the Prime Minister. The code does not apply to constitutional authorities like the governor. The President has made it clear that he feels governors should keep away from active politics.

The Congress party has sought an appointment with the president to complain against the blatant misuse of office by the Rajasthan Governor.

The Election Commission writing to the President that a governor has violated the model code of conduct is a severe and rare indictment of a constitutional authority.

Sources say the prime minister will have to decide on whether the Governor can be removed during the election process.

Last month, Kalyan Singh, 87, had called for PM Modi's re-election "for the sake of the country". He was on camera saying at his hometown Aligarh that PM Modi's re-election is a necessity for the country and the society and every party member should work for it. He made the remarks as he was faced with BJP workers protesting over the party's candidate in Aligarh for the national election this month.

When the comments were reported, the Rashtrapati Bhavan or President's office had said that "no one in a constitutional post is permitted to campaign" for anyone. But the President's Office said it could act only if there were a complaint.

In the 1990s, a Governor was forced to resign for violating the poll code by campaigning for his son and voting was also cancelled in the constituency, which was in Madhya Pradesh.

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