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Cong seeks action against PM

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Alleges Modi’s ‘redistribution of wealth’ remarks ‘divisive’, ‘malicious’; violates MCC

New Delhi, April 22: The Congress on Monday moved the Election Commission seeking “appropriate action” against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his ‘redistribution of wealth’ remarks at a poll rally in Rajasthan, alleging the comments were “divisive”, “malicious” and targeted a particular religious community.
A delegation of Congress leaders met the Election Commission and handed over complaints against the prime minister, alleging that he has trampled upon and violated the model code and directions of the poll body.
“The Prime Minister has to be held accountable by the ECI for the brazen trampling of the Model Code of Conduct as well as the whole gamut of offences- electoral and otherwise- committed by him and his party,” the Congress said in a representation, adding inaction by the poll panel in the matter will tarnish its legacy.
The delegation comprising Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Gurdeep Sappal met Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar and election commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu and put forward 16 complaints and memorandums against the BJP and others for alleged violations of The Representation of the People Act, 1951, various judgments of the Supreme Court, and the Model Code of Conduct.
Singhvi told reporters that he discussed in detail some complaints out of the 16 made to the EC and the most objectionable were the remarks made by the prime minister.
“We respect the office he holds, he is as much our Prime Minister as he is yours and of the BJP’s. The higher the post he holds the more obligation he has to exercise restraint. Unfortunately, the statement we have quoted is seriously objectionable, we cannot accept this from as eloquent as our PM,” he said.
“We would pray to him with folded hands to withdraw these comments, to clarify and we have asked the Election Commission to state that this is the position in law and we will do in this respect whatever we do with others. I will not repeat what was said but its four or five elements are deeply objectionable,” he said.
The prime minister has talked of community blatantly and has linked the deprivation of resources of the majority and garnering and monopolisation of the resources by the minority, Singhvi said.
“He brought in Hindu imagery of no less than the ‘mangalsutra’. He has therefore clearly violated Section 123 of not allowing exciting and inflammation of communal passions, as well as several circulars of the EC, the constitutional ethos and the spirit, which makes secularism a basic structure of our Constitution, which makes a level playing field in democracy a part of the basic structure,” Singhvi said.
“This a very serious invasion and we hope and trust because the EC is on trial, that irrespective of the stature of the person who has done this, appropriate action will and must follow shortly,” the Congress leader said.
The party representation alleged the statements by Modi “made it clear that he has made false and divisive insinuations, targeted at a particular religious community and a clear provocation to the general public to act out and breach the peace, potentially against such a religious community”.
It also alleged that the PM has tried to “mislead” the voters by making “false and unverified allegations, which he knows to be untrue”.
“If this Hon’ble Commission fails to rise to the challenge of upholding the law in the face of these defiant, deliberate and brazen violations being committed by the PM and his party, the Hon’ble ECI risks tarnishing its legacy and abandoning its Constitutional duty by setting a precedent of helpless inaction that will go down in infamy,” the Congress memorandum to EC said.
The PM’s statements to the voters were not only violative of the Representation of People Act, 1951, the model code, the Indian Penal Code and the Commission’s instructions, but it also “forms a part of a larger and grossly problematic strategy of maliciously creating enmity on grounds of religion and tarnishing the principal opposition party based on rank falsehoods with a view to adversely impact the minds of the voters”, the memorandum said.
“Coming from a person holding the high office of the Prime Minister of India, any voter would get influenced. Hence, the gravity of the offence is even more serious/egregious given that it is the Prime Minister of India who is making these false and reckless statements,” the memorandum said.
Among the 16 complaints was the representation against an order passed by the Returning Officer, Surat Parliamentary Constituency, cancelling the nomination of Nilesh Kumbhani on the grounds that his proposers claimed that they were coerced to nominate Kumbhani.
“Since the complaint, the whereabouts of the proposers is not known and it is suspected that they have been abducted. Despite the precarious circumstances, the RO passed an Order cancelling Shri. Nilesh Kumbhani’s nomination,” the party’s memorandum to EC said.
The Congress also raised the issue of the BJP’s alleged “continued use of religious figures (Lord Ram) and Places of Worship (Construction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya) in its political advertisements”.
The Congress sought an inquiry into Doordarshan News in light of its decision to change the colour of its logo to saffron during the elections period, a colour that is universally associated with the BJP in Indian politics.
The Congress also sought immediate action against the ruling party. They also complained about the fresh appointments to UGC even when the election period was underway. (PTI)

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