EC notice to BJP, Congress over poll code violation plaints against Modi, Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi
Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: Taking cognisance for the first time of a model code violation allegation against a prime minister, the Election Commission on Thursday asked the BJP to respond to complaints filed by opposition parties against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his divisive and defamatory speech in Rajasthan's Banswara.

The poll panel also asked the Congress to respond to complaints filed by the BJP against the main opposition party's president Mallikarjun Kharge and its senior leader Rahul Gandhi regarding their respective remarks.

In its letter addressed to BJP president JP Nadda, the Election Commission asked him to respond by Monday to complaints filed by the Congress, CPI and CPI (ML) regarding the remarks made by Modi on April 21 in Banswara.

Addressing a rally on Sunday (April 21), Modi said the Congress plans to give people’s hard-earned money and valuables to “infiltrators” and “those who have more children.” he also said that the opposition party 'will not even spare the 'mangalsutra' (taali) of women'.

Commission officials said it was the first time that the panel has taken cognisance of a complaint against any prime minister. The poll panel has invoked provisions of the Representation of the People Act to hold party presidents as the first step to rein in star campaigners.

It wrote a similarly-worded letter separately to the Congress president about allegations levelled by the BJP against him and Gandhi.

The letters from the EC to the two-party presidents did not directly name either Modi, Gandhi or Kharge, but the representations received by it were attached to the respective letters and they contained details of allegations against the three leaders.

While the Congress highlighted Modi's speech in Rajasthan, the BJP had written to EC that Rahul Gandhi levelled malafide and utterly sinister allegations against Modi during a speech in Coimbatore. It also accused Kharge of violating the model code by claiming that he was not invited to the Ram temple consecration ceremony due to discrimination against SCs and STs.
(With PTI inputs)

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