PM, other BJP leaders violated model code in ‘silence period’, Congress tells EC

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New Delhi: On the eve of polling in the crucial Karnataka Assembly polls, the Congress on Tuesday complained to the Election Commission against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders for violating the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).

In a eight-page complaint to the Commission, Congress General Secretary and state unit in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala said: “We write to you with great urgency to bring to your attention the brazen and blatant violation of the MCC as well as the provisions of the Representation of People Act, 1951 by the Prime Minister and other leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).”

Surjewala said that on Monday, post 11 p.m., Modi addressed the public through a video message, wherein he appealed to the voters of Karnataka on behalf of BJP and all its candidates contesting in the the elections.

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“With due respect, neither the Prime Minister nor this Commission can possibly deny the ‘Silence Period’ as contemplated under Section 126 of the Representation of People Act, 1951 for the Karnataka Legislative Assembly Elections, 2023 had come into effect from Monday 6 p.m.” he said, attaching the video link of the Prime Minister’s address.

The Congress leader, who himself camped in the southern state for over two months, said: “In fact, this Commission’s attention may even be brought to the live interviews of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP President J.P. Nadda, which were aired on news channels after the declaration of the ‘Silence Period’. In these interviews, the said leaders spoke extensively about the Karnataka elections and their respective candidates.”

He also submitted a copy of the video recording of the live interviews being conducted on news channels after declaration of ‘Silence Period’ with the Commission.

The Congress leader, in his complaint, also cited the six complaints it submitted with the poll panel in last few days against the speeches given by Modi, Shah, Nadda and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, as part of BJP’s election campaign.

Surjewala said that he was still hoipeful that the poll panel may initiate action against the BJP leaders and not be intimidated by the high offices that they hold.

“The COmmission must take immediate note of this and initiate appropriate proceedings against Modi, Shah, Nadda, Yogi Adityanath and the BJP,” he said, adding that it may be mentioned that if convicted under Section 126 of the Representation of People Act, 1951, these leaders will stand disqualified from their respective membership in the Parliament as well as the Legislative Assembly.

On Monday, the Commission also served a notice to Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge asking to provide clarification and take rectification measures over former party chief Sonia Gandhi’s purported ‘Karnataka sovereignty’ remark.

Polling for Karnataka assembly is scheduled on May 10 and counting of votes will take place on May 13.

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( With inputs from )

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