EC Seeks Report from Gujarat Election Authorities After Cong Accuses PM Modi of Violating Poll Code
Modi travelled in an open jeep to a polling centre in the Ranip area of Ahmedabad Tuesday morning to cast his vote.
Modi arrived at the polling booth in Nishan Higher Secondary School along with Shah and party workers.(Image: Reuters)
New Delhi: The Election Commission has sought a report from the chief electoral officer of Gujarat on a 'roadshow' of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad on Tuesday which the Congress alleged violated electoral law.
Briefing reporters on the phase three of Lok Sabha elections, which concluded Tuesday, senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha said a report has been sought in this regard from the chief electoral officer of Gujarat.
Sources later pointed out that poll authorities in Gujarat have indicated that prima facie, the PM has not violated the model code. But there was no official word on this from the EC.
Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act states that, "No person shall convene, hold, attend, join or address any public meeting or procession in connection with an election ... in any polling area during the period of forty-eight hours ending with the hour fixed for the conclusion of the poll for any election in that polling area."
Deputy Election Commissioner Chandra Bhushan Kumar, responding to a question on BJP chief Amit Shah's reported remarks on 'Modi ji ki vayu sena' made in West Bengal on Monday, said, "details have to be collected which will come in a day or two." The Congress on Tuesday moved the EC alleging that Modi took out a "roadshow" after casting his vote and made political remarks in violation of the model code of conduct, and demanded that a campaign ban of 2-3 days be imposed on him for being an "uncaring offender".
After casting his vote in Ahmedabad, Modi walked some distance from the polling booth and interacted briefly with mediapersons.
Later in the day, the Congress moved the Election Commission (EC), alleging that Modi took out a "road show" after casting his vote and made political remarks in violation of the model code of conduct, and demanded that a campaign ban of 2-3 days be imposed on him for being an "uncaring offender".
The opposition party also made a representation to the EC over alleged model code of conduct violation by BJP chief Amit Shah and demanded a 72-hour campaign ban on him.
The Congress delegation comprising Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Jairam Ramesh and K Raju told the EC that Shah "openly raised Balakot air strikes, Pulwama attack and armed forces" while seeking votes in Krishnanagar, West Bengal.
The party strongly raised the issue of alleged violation of the model code of conduct by the Prime Minister.
"Prime Minister is occupying a high post. The bigger the post, the bigger the responsibility. We have told the Election Commission that instead of caring about the responsibility, the Prime Minister is repeatedly violating the model code of conduct," Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi told reporters outside the EC.
He said the Congress had written to the EC last night complaining about the "violation of the model code of conduct" by Modi after casting his vote in the past.
"Our prediction came true as in today's polling after casting his vote, the Prime Minister took out a long road show, gave speeches and political statements soon after voting," Singhvi said.
There has never been such clear and transparent violation of the model code of conduct, he alleged.
"We told the EC that he is a habitual, egregious, and completely uncaring offender. He doesn't care for the EC," the Congress leader said.
"It is very distressing and sad. There is no point taking 5-10 days before responding. We said action should be taken against the PM within hours and a campaign ban be imposed on him for 48 or 72 hours," he said.
Responding to a volley of questions on 'delay' on part of the Commission in finalising its response on the prime minister's remarks in Latur, Maharashtra on April 9 urging young voters to cast ballot in the name of heroes of Balakot air strike, Chandra Bhushan Kumar said, before taking a decision, EC looks into the issue in its "entirety".
Initially, he said, the district authorities had sent only the relevant paragraph of the PM's speech. "The officials there are good in English and Marathi. But Hindi is an issue. When we demanded, a certified transcript was sent to us on April 16. The matter is (now) under examination," he said.
Asked why in some cases the EC has taken decisions immediately and why was it delaying other matters, another deputy EC Sandeep Saxena said, the EC takes decision after looking into various aspects such as model code , legal angle.
Kumar said, every speech is different and is to be considered in different context. “It is not that the work has stopped," he said, adding that poll officials are also busy with preparing for polls and holding them smoothly," he said. "As and when a decision s taken, it will be known to you."
Responding to a question on complaint against Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his 'chowkidar chor hai' jibe against Modi, he said transcripts of his two media interactions/interviews have been obtained and it is under the consideration of the Commission.
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