Who's a poll 'panauti'? Did the EC really warn Rahul Gandhi?

The EC has reportedly asked Gandhi to be careful with his public utterances, allegedly with regard to 'panauti' and 'pickpocket' remarks

The #Panauti tag in connection with Narendra Modi emerged during the World Cup, with its finals in a stadium named for the Prime Minister (photo courtesy @KohliSensation/X shows him in the dressing room consoling Team Inda)
The #Panauti tag in connection with Narendra Modi emerged during the World Cup, with its finals in a stadium named for the Prime Minister (photo courtesy @KohliSensation/X shows him in the dressing room consoling Team Inda)
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PTI

The Election Commission has asked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to be more careful and cautious in his public utterances in the wake of his "panauti (bad omen)" and "pickpocket" jibes at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sources claim.

Acting on a Delhi High Court directive of December last year, the poll panel has asked Gandhi to follow its recent advisory for star campaigners and political leaders in right earnest during the election campaign.

In the advisory dated 1 March 2024, the Election Commission (EC) had warned that parties, candidates and star campaigners will face stern action rather than just 'moral censure' for any violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

It also said that the star campaigners and candidates who have received notices in the past will face stern action for any repeat violation.

The EC had issued a notice to Gandhi last year after the Congress leader used the terms "panauti" and "pickpocket" with regard to the prime minister.

The commission was asked on 21 December by the Delhi High Court to decide these comments, saying the statement made by the Congress leader during a speech delivered in November 2023 was "not in good taste". In response, the EC asked Gandhi "to be more careful and cautious in his public utterances in the future"—so sources have claimed.

Said source claims: "After considering all facts in the matter related to remarks such as 'jebkatra' (pickpocket) and 'panauti', including the court order and Gandhi's reply, the Election Commission has advised Gandhi to be more careful and cautious in future."

Reportedly, the commission has further directed Gandhi, as a star campaigner, to take into notice its 1 March advisory for all parties, star campaigners and candidates in right earnest while making public utterances.

The poll panel had issued a notice to Gandhi on 23 November, seeking his stand about his speeches during his campaigns for the assembly elections in Rajasthan.

The former Congress president took the "pickpocket" dig at Modi during his poll speech, alleging that the prime minister diverts people's attention while industrialist Gautam Adani picks their pockets. This is how teams of pickpockets operate, he had alleged.

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