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ECI seeks response from BJP, Cong over poll violation complaints against PM, Rahul

Election Commission

NEW DELHI, APRIL 25: Taking cognisance for the first time of a model code violation allegation against a Prime Minister, the Election Commission (ECI) on Thursday asked the BJP to respond to complaints filed by Opposition parties wherein they have accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of delivering a divisive and defamatory speech in Rajasthan’s Banswara.
At the same time, 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.
It also asked Nadda to bring to the notice of all star campaigners of the party to “set high standards of political discourse and observe provisions of model code of conduct in letter and spirit”.
Officials said it is the first time that the panel has taken cognisance of a complaint against any Prime Minister. The Election Commission 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 with regard to 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 3 leaders.
In its complaint to the EC, the Congress said that Modi in his speech had alleged that Congress wanted to redistribute the wealth of the people to Muslims and that the opposition party won’t even spare the ‘mangalsutra’ of women.
The BJP, on the other hand, had written to EC that Gandhi levelled malafide and utterly sinister allegations against Modi during a speech in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.
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.