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SAMAJWADI PARTY

UPDC Chairman post not an office of profit: Amar Singh to Election Commission

Saturday 1 April 2006

New Delhi,India : Replying to the Election Commission’s notice in connection with holding an “office of profit”, Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh said on Saturday that the Uttar Pradesh Development Council (UPDC) is not a government body.

Singh, who is the Chairman of the UPDC, said that the council was registered under the Societies Act and it was not a government body. He said that the Election Commission had also misinterpreted the case of former Rajya Sabha member Jaya Bachchan, whom the commission had disqualified on the ground that her chairpersonship of the UP Film Development Council was an office of profit.

The Election Commission had issued notice to Singh on March 10 on a petition seeking his disqualification from the Rajya Sabha on the ground that he held an office of profit and asked him to file a reply by 31st March. He will send a detailed reply later, the sources said.

The Uttar Pradesh State Assembly had on March 30 passed a UPDC Bill 2006 to accord institutional status to the Council, with retrospective effect from October 15, 2003. As per the provisions of the new bill, the chairman of the UPDC would be appointed by the state government and would enjoy five years term. Chief Secretary of the state has been designated as the convener of the council.

Besides the state government would have the authority to nominate 12 members from the Indian corporate world, who would also have a five years term. The government has also reserved the right to appoint special invitees to the council. State Governor TV Rajeshwar is yet to give his consent to the Bill.

The UPDC was set up as a society under the Firms and Societies Act on October 10, 2003. Apart from Bollywood icon Amitabh Bacchan, who is also the brand ambassador of UP and Well-known industrialist Anil Ambani, the council includes Kumarmanglam Birla, former Hindisutan Lever chairman M S Banga, Adi Godrej, M V Kamath, and Subrato Roy. Anil Ambani recently quit his Rajya Sabha membership following the office of profit controversy. Ambani was elected to the Upper House as an independent candidate with the SP’s support in 2004 along with Bachchan.

See online : Kerala News

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