The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BJP crows as Cong squirms

New Delhi, Nov. 19: The BJP, which went hammer and tongs at chief election commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh after Narendra Modi got the short end of the stick before the Gujarat elections, is now gloating over Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s discomfiture.

The reason for the BJP’s glee is the showcause notice served by the Election Commission to the Congress on why its status as a national party should not be suspended or withdrawn for violating the model code of conduct.

The poll panel had noted that Sonia, Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi and Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker Srinivas Tiwari used Chhattisgarh government aircraft during campaigning.

BJP spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it was “unprecedented and shameful”.

“It is significant to note that the Congress CM (Jogi) has repeatedly flouted the EC’s guidelines and violated the law,” Naqvi told reporters.

“These are signs of desperation. But for the Congress president to be part of this conduct is truly shameful.”

Naqvi said the BJP would bring to the commission’s notice another case of “violation” in which the Chhattisgarh government released two-page advertisements in an Ahmedabad paper, Divya Bhaskar, on November 16. Under the model code of conduct, government advertisements cannot be put out when elections — state or general — are under way in any part of the country.

The National Democratic Alliance government was forced to withdraw an advertisement campaign it launched on completing four years in office once the Election Commission announced the latest round of Assembly elections. Its plea that the advertisements would not be released in the five poll-bound states — four of them are Congress-ruled — did not wash.

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