PM Modi violates poll code:‘Partisan’ Election Commission draws rebuke over inaction 

After casting his vote, Prime Minister Narendra Modi waved to crowds and rode across the streets standing in an open vehicle

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter

NH Web Desk

While the Election Commission on Wednesday ordered filing of an FIR against Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi for giving an interview to a TV channel in Gujarat besides all TV channels that telecast the interview, it is drawing widespread rebuke for its inaction over poll code violation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

During the second phase of Gujarat elections for 93 Assembly constituencies, PM Modi arrived a little after noon at an Ahmedabad school on Thursday for casting his vote. After casting his vote, he waved to crowds and rode the streets standing in an open vehicle. The Opposition parties and election observers view it as violation of the model code of conduct, aimed at influencing voters.

The videos and pictures being shared in social media show the Prime Minister, standing on the foot board of a moving vehicle. He can be seen flashing his index finger at cheering BJP supporters waving party flags as his vehicle navigates through the crowd.

Although election advertisements (other than election programmes on TV or radio) can’t be displayed or published on election day, several local newspapers featured BJP advertisements on their front pages as their readers went to vote on Thursday.

“Stand up media to this unprecedented violation of the code of conduct. Condemn the EC for allowing this gross abuse. The images on TV will leave no one in doubt that the BJP and PM have conducted a full-fledged campaign on polling day. Shocking violation of Rules. EC is sleeping on the job,” senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said in a series of tweets, accusing Election Commission of sleeping on the job.

Chidambaram asked the EC why it picked on the party’s president-elect Rahul Gandhi for giving media interviews while leaving out BJP leaders who did the same thing.

In a scathing attack on the EC, Congress alleged that the “sinking ship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign is being saved by the poll panel”. In Ahmedabad, the party also filed a complaint with the poll panel against Modi for allegedly violating the model code of conduct by holding a “roadshow” when the second phase of Assembly polls was underway.

“The Election Commission of India has set different standards for the BJP and the Congress. What is the reason for the poll panel to behave like a frontal organisation of BJP,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asked at a press conference in New Delhi.

Previously, the party’s complaint over the Prime Minister Modi's address to industry body FICCI yesterday failed to draw a response from the poll panel.

During the 2014 parliamentary elections, two FIRs were lodged against Modi for violating electoral laws in Ahmedabad. Election Commission took serious note of the BJP prime ministerial candidate for taking a selfie prominently displaying the party symbol and posting it on Twitter after casting his ballot.

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