Congress says PM Modi's meditation trip violates MCC, urges ECI to stop it airing

Modi will meditate at a monument to Swami Vivekananda, at the end of the Lok Sabha election campaign on 30 May, BJP leaders had said

Cong leaders Randeep Singh Surjewala (right), Abhishek Manu Singhvi and others leave ECI (photo: PTI)
Cong leaders Randeep Singh Surjewala (right), Abhishek Manu Singhvi and others leave ECI (photo: PTI)


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

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

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 1 June voting in Modi's Varanasi constituency and other seats. It was also in breach of the MCC and provisions of the Representation of People Act 1951, the Opposition party claimed.

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

"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 30 May 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 1 June. Otherwise, if he wants to meditate from 30 May, then the ECI should ensure that this is not broadcast by the TV or print media," Singhvi told media after the delegation met chief election commissioner Rajiv Kumar and other election commissioners.

"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 MP and general-secretary (communications) 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 30 May, BJP leaders had said.

He will meditate from the evening of 30 May to the evening of 1 June at Dhyan Mandapam, the place where Swami Vivekananda — a spiritual icon Modi professes to admire — 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 additionally complained of alleged MCC violations by the prime minister and other BJP leaders including Union home minister Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

The party alleged that the statements by the PM at a poll rally in Patiala, Punjab, were violative of the 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 accused 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 party also alleged that 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 ghuspethiye (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.

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