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regular-article-logo Sunday, 23 June 2024

Congress claims PM Modi's 48-hr meditation trip violates model code, urges EC to stop its airing

We hope that the ECI will take immediate steps to ensure that the live telecast of the meditation of the 'sarva-ghoshit Bhagwan' (self-styled god) at the Vivekananda Memorial does not take place since this is a brazen and clear violation of the Model Code of Conduct, says Jairam Ramesh

PTI New Delhi Published 29.05.24, 08:56 PM
Jairam Ramesh.

Jairam Ramesh. File picture.

The Congress alleged on Wednesday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was trying to "circumvent" the silence period restrictions with his 48-hour meditation trip in Kanyakumari from May 30 and urged the Election Commission to ensure it is not aired by the media as it violates the model code of conduct.

A delegation of Congress leaders Randeep Surjewala, Abhishek Singhvi and Syed Naseer Hussain met the Election Commission and handed over a memorandum in this regard along with 27 other complaints of alleged model code violations by the BJP in the last few days.

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The Congress claimed that the meditation programme by the prime minister in Kanyakumari's 'Dhyan Mandapam" was a "clear violation" of the silence period ahead of the June 1 voting in Modi's Varanasi constituency and other seats.

It was also in breach of the Model Code of Conduct and provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the opposition party claimed.

It said that on May 28, several news agencies reported on the trip that Narendra Modi would be taking to Kanyakumari, where he would undertake 48 hours of meditation starting on May 30.

"The said trip would be widely televised and would therefore be shown during the 48-hour silence period in Varanasi, the constituency from which Shri Narendra Modi is contesting," the Congress memorandum to the EC said.

"Through the meditation trip, Shri Narendra Modi is attempting to circumvent the 48-hour silence period and unfairly leverage the ethnocultural significance of the chosen location in an attempt to bolster his campaign and maximise his vote share in violation of the Representation of the People Act, as well as Model Code of Conduct," the party also said.

It was also against the orders related to Dos and Don'ts during the election period that political parties and their candidates are required to adhere to, the memorandum said.

"The PM will start his meditation on the evening of May 30 and we have complained about that. We all know that the silence period will begin on May 30 and thus his declaration is a violation of the MCC.

"The PM can start his meditation after 24-48 hours, which is from the evening of June 1. Otherwise, if he wants to meditate from May 30, then the ECI should ensure that this is not broadcast by the TV or print media," Singhvi told reporters after the delegation met CEC Rajiv Kumar and other ECs.

"We hope that the ECI will take immediate steps to ensure that the live telecast of the meditation of the 'sarva-ghoshit Bhagwan' (self-styled god) at the Vivekananda Memorial does not take place since this is a brazen and clear violation of the Model Code of Conduct," Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said in a post on X.

Modi will meditate at Rock Memorial, a monument built in tribute to Swami Vivekananda, following the culmination of the Lok Sabha polls campaign on May 30, BJP leaders had said.

He will meditate from the evening of May 30 to the evening of June 1 at Dhyan Mandapam, the place where Vivekananda -- a spiritual icon admired by Modi -- is believed to have had a divine vision about 'Bharat Mata', BJP leaders said.

The Congress leaders also complained against the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) for "granting a waiver" to Renewable Energy Plants located in SEZs and EOUs from complying with the mandatory guidelines prescribed for 'onshore wind power projects'.

"Such a waiver possesses significant potential to skew the level playing field in the ongoing elections," the party said.

The Congress also complained of alleged model code violations by the prime minister and other BJP leaders including Home Minister Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

The opposition party alleged that the statements by the PM at a poll rally in Patiala, Punjab, were violative of MCC as he made several allegations about the Congress in order to weaken the image of the opposition party.

"He also levelled baseless allegations about the INC being responsible for the Partition and that INC was opposed to granting of citizenship to members of the Sikh community under CAA 2019 in an attempt to outrage, mislead and unduly influence the electorate to refrain from voting for the INC," it alleged.

The Congress also accused Himanta Biswa Sarma of making "explicit appeals to vote on the basis of religion, while falsely portraying the INC as communal, biased, and as a political party which does not adhere to the Constitution in letter or spirit".

The opposition party also alleged that Home Minister Shah, during his election speech at Ambedkar Nagar, Uttar Pradesh, reiterated the narrative of the BJP and its allies being "Ram Bhakts" (devotees of Lord Ram), simultaneously claiming that the INC and its allies were "Ram Bhakton par Goli Chalane Waale (those who open fire on devotees of Lord Ram".

"Amit Shah made other statements which prejudicially referred to members of a particular religious minority as 'ghuspathiye' (infiltrators)," the Congress said.

It alleged that the BJP leader reiterated "baseless claims about the INC taking away reservations from members of the SC, ST and OBC communities with the intention to give it to members of a particular religious community for securing its 'vote bank'".

The Congress also accused the BJP of misusing the state machinery in Uttar Pradesh by deploying state government buses to transport supporters to the venue of a poll event.

"Such use of governmental resources by the party in power violates provisions of the model code as well as the doctrine of level playing field," the opposition party alleged.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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