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Saturday, December 10 2022

What about PM, asks Congress after EC serves notice to Rahul Gandhi

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New Delhi: Following the Election Commission notice to Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi for allegedly violating the model poll code, the Congress on Wednesday asked the poll panel to take action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his speech at at Ficci on eve of Gujarat polls’ second phase.

Arguing that the Prime Minister had misused the business chamber’s platform to attack Congress and an FIR must be registered against Modi, it cited more examples of the Model Code of Conduct’s (MCC) violation by Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and questioned the poll panel’s silence on it.

The Congress also demanded that EC should immeditely withdraw “the order, if any, directing registration of an FIR against news channels for telecasting the interview of Congress President”, while saying that Modi is going to make an attempt on Thursday again to influence the elections.

“It is EC’s duty to take steps. We have also submitted examples and video proof,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.

The EC on Wednesday shot off a notice to Gandhi for allegedly violating the by giving election-related interviews to TV channels a day prior to the second phase polling in Gujarat, and asked him to respond by December 18.

A Congress delegation led by senior party leader Ashok Gehlot met the EC after the notice to Gandhi. He was accompanied by Congress leaders Anand Sharma, Randeep Singh Surjewala and Ahmed Patel.

“BJP was putting pressure on the EC to file an FIR against the press. Journalists are being suppressed.

“By the same standards, we urged the Election Commission to that in 2014, one day before the elections, Modiji gave interviews to many news channels.

“Election Commission did not take any action against him,” said Surjewala after the meeting.

“Narendra Modi entered the polling booth to cast his vote and openly showed the BJP symbol. No action was taken by Election Commission,” he said.

The party also said that for the first phase of polling in Gujarat on December 9, the campaign period ended at 5 p.m. on December 7 but despite that Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley accompanied by BJP and other leaders held a press conference in Ahmedabad in the afternoon of December 8.

“Not only this, they proceeded to release the election manifesto of the BJP. EC took no action,” said Surjewala.

“BJP President Amit Shah gave extensive TV interviews at Ahmedabad Airport today (Wednesday), which were televised by the same channels.

“He also issued a statement criticizing former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Even this statement was also televised by the same news channels. EC has taken no action,” he added.

Sharma told reporeters that Election Commission heard them and said “‘hum isko dekhenge’ (we’ll see)”.

In a memorandum submitted to EC, the party also said that Union Minister Piyush Goel held two press conferences on Wednesday on Gujarat, which were televised, but, the EC took no action.

“In case, the yardsticks of violation of Model Code of Conduct is to be applied as is being done by EC, order registration of FIR against Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, Arun Jaitley, Piyush Goel, Jeetu Baghani and other BJP leaders for flouting the Code of Conduct.

The party also pointed out that on the day of the polling i.e. December 9, Narendra Modi proceeded to hold four public meetings in Gujarat – in Lunawada, Bodeli, Anand and Mehsana.

“Election Commission is duty bound to be fair and impartial. We have to regrettably state that aforesaid apparent discrimination and an apparent advantage being given to the ruling party militates against this notion,” it said.

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