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EC slams BJP, Congress over poll speeches; says 'electoral democracy should not be weakened'
LS poll
Photo courtesy: File Image/ UNI

EC slams BJP, Congress over poll speeches; says 'electoral democracy should not be weakened'

| @indiablooms | 22 May 2024, 08:59 pm

New Delhi/IBNS: With five phases of the Lok Sabha election over, the Election Commission Wednesday slammed both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the main Opposition Congress over poll speeches by its star campaigners.

This comes after both the parties had filed complaints against each other, flagging speeches by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi. 

In separate directions issued to BJP president JP Nadda and Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, the commission said the country's socio-cultural milieu cannot be made a casualty of elections.

"Elections are a process when political parties not only contest to win but also avails the opportunity to present themselves in their ideal best for the voting community to experience, emulate, and build hopes on. The second part constitutes the more precious heritage of Indian elections and our electoral democracy and this should not be allowed to be weakened by anyone, including your party," the commission said.

"Elections are periodic exercises, they come and go, but political parties like yours endure; even more enduring preserve is India's socio-cultural milieu; Political parties are in the task of nurturing leaders for the country for present and future. They cannot afford to be lax in any manner in enforcing discipline and conduct among the cadre in the high stake electoral space; especially with reference to senior members," the poll body told both parties.

Earlier, both parties had approached the Election Commission and complained against each other's leaders.

The poll body had issued notices and sought their responses to the allegations. In Wednesday's directions, it has rejected their defences.

In its letter to Nadda, the poll body has said it expects BJP, "as the ruling party at the Centre to fully align the campaign methods to the practical aspects of the composite and sensitive fabric of India".

The commission has directed the BJP to direct all star campaigners to refrain from making any statement prohibited under the Model Code of Conduct.

The rules, according to the poll body, provide that "no party or candidate shall include in any activity which may aggravate existing difference or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic.

The Election Commission's letter to Kharge said that it expects the grand old party to "fully align the campaign methods to the practical aspects of the composite and sensitive fabric of India".

The poll body asked the Congress chief to instruct its star campaigners to avoid making statements prohibited under the General Conduct rules of the model code of conduct.

The Congress chief was also directed to ask star campaigners to "desist as part of the election campaigning from indulging in any political propaganda involving activities of the Defence forces and not to make potentially divisive statements regarding socio-economic composition of Defence forces".

He was also told to ask them "that they do not make statements which give false impression such as that the Constitution of India may be abolished or sold".

Earlier, the Congress had approached the poll body over Prime Minister Modi's allegations that the Opposition party wanted to redistribute people's wealth among Muslims and that the opposition party won't even spare married women's 'mangalsutra'.

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