Poll panel rejects plea against Sonia, Congress welcomes move

New Delhi, April 19 (Inditop) The Election Commission has rejected a petition seeking Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s disqualification as a member of parliament for receiving a foreign award, and the party Sunday welcomed the decision.

Although outgoing Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami was all for an inquiry into the matter, the two Election Commissioners – Navin Chawla, who will succeed Gopalaswami Tuesday, and S.Y. Quraishi, were not in favour of it, thus the poll panel rejected the petition against Gandhi.

If there are differences of opinion among the three members of the commission, the majority view prevails. The final view on the plea was sent to President Pratibha Patil for her decision.

When contacted, Gopalaswami refused to talk on the matter. “No comments,” he told IANS Sunday.

A Kerala-based advocate had sought Gandhi’s disqualification as MP for accepting the Order of Leopold, the second highest civilian honour of Belgium, given to her when she visited the country in November 2006.

The Congress has welcomed the poll panel decision.

“Obviously, the decision is just and fair on the merit. There was no credibility to the petition,” Congress spokesperson Ashwani Kumar said.

“And we hope that such petitions will not be entertained in future to descredit the national leaders of such statures,” he told IANS.

Senior Congress leader and Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal said: “We haven’t been given any notice, therefore, there is no question of an explanation. The Election Commission has said itself that there is no need for any enquiry. So we have nothing to say. We welcome the decision.”