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Mulayam in teacher ‘joke’ plea

Lucknow, April 19: The Samajwadi Party today sought a review of the Election Commission’s notice to Mulayam Singh Yadav for allegedly threatening schoolteachers appointed on contract, saying the poll panel’s interpretation had missed the spirit of the statement.

A Samajwadi spokesperson claimed the April 3 statement telling the shiksha mitras to vote for the party had been made in “jest”.

“In no way should Mulayam Yadavji’s comment be construed as a threat for it was made in jest. He did not threaten voters. The EC should review the decision,” Uttar Pradesh jail minister Rajendra Chaudhary said.

The commission had yesterday issued a show-cause notice to Mulayam, who is alleged to have told shiksha mitras — schoolteachers appointed on contract — to either vote for his party or lose the chance of being regularised.

According to a video recording of the statement Mulayam is alleged to have made, the Samajwadi chief is heard telling a rally in Bulandshahr: “As far as shiksha mitras are concerned, we have done itů now give your vote. If you do not vote, we’ll withdraw it.”

The statement came a month and a half after the Uttar Pradesh cabinet decided on February 15 that the shiksha mitras would be regularised even if they didn’t appear for a teacher eligibility test.

In its notice, the commission said Mulayam had, prima facie, violated the model code and directed him to reply by 5pm tomorrow.