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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 18 June 2024

ECI continues to receive flak for not taking action against Modi's speech on Congress manifesto

Poll panel is yet to disclose what action, if any, it has taken regarding speech in which he claimed, without proof, that Congress's manifesto had pledged to 'survey' and 'attach' citizens' properties and distribute them disproportionately among Muslims, 'who have more children'

Pheroze L. Vincent New Delhi Published 25.04.24, 06:00 AM
Representational image

Representational image File picture

The Election Commission of India continued to receive a lot of flak for not taking action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his speech in Rajasthan’s Banswara on Sunday.

The poll panel is yet to disclose what action, if any, it has taken regarding the speech in which he claimed, without proof, that the Congress's manifesto had pledged to "survey" and "attach" citizens' properties and distribute them disproportionately among Muslims, "who have more children".

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Since Sunday, Modi and other BJP campaigners have not shied away from making claims on similar lines, which the Opposition, civil society and human rights groups have condemned.

On Wednesday, the Karnataka chief electoral officer posted on X that an FIR has been filed against a post by BJP's official handle on April 23, 2024, titled "Congress Manifesto or Muslim League Manifesto" for "promoting hatred and enmity between different groups and classes of citizens".

The Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG) of retired senior civil servants on Wednesday lent its voice to push the EC for action, endorsing a complaint of election reforms activist and academic Jagdeep Chhokkar to the poll panel on Monday. The CCG forwarded the same letter with their endorsements to the EC.

A large group of law students from Delhi University held a condolence meeting for the EC and garlanded a photo of the three election commissioners on Tuesday. Memes on "death certificate of the EC" and the commissioners in a bird’s cage went viral.

Former chief election commissioner O.P. Rawat said: "The speed of social media is so fast that news travels several times around the world in a single day, while the EC’s process is still ongoing. The questions before the EC are: is there a prima facie violation of the MCC (model code of conduct)? The complaints filed do not have the full transcript of the speech (or the Congress’s manifesto) attached to it. The EC’s clock begins (to tick) when it receives the complaint. Every side uses the EC as a punching bag. There is technological asymmetry."

After children were asked to greet Modi during a road show in Coimbatore last month, the district election officer ordered a probe, and an FIR was filed against the schools that sent the children. The Madras High Court stayed coercive action by police on the FIR. The EC did not send notice to the BJP or the PM.

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