The Vadodara Congress unit lodged a complaint with District Election Officer Vinod Rao on Tuesday regarding Yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s programme in the city on April 26. The Congress has alleged that Ramdev’s programme is a tacit election propaganda of the BJP and demanded Rao to prohibit the same until the poll day on April 30.
Ramdev’s April 26 event, titled “Yogdiksha avam Rashtriya Nirman Sabha”, states in its open public invite that it is furthering the “unmatchable mission of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Gayatri Parivar and other socio-religious organizations”, in the biggest meeting to be held in the city.
In the complaint, the Congress party has contended that Ramdev’s programme is in violation of the guidelines of the Election Commission that prohibits the “use of places of worship as a forum for election propaganda in any manner” under the Model Code of Conduct. The guidelines also prohibit use of religious institutions or funds of religious institutions for the promotion and propagation of any political ideas or political activity or for the benefit of a political party. In the letter to the DEO,
Congress party spokesperson and Election Agent to Madhusudan Mistry, Shailesh Amin, states, “Ramdev is a known supporter of BJP Prime Ministerial candidate from Vadodara, Narendra Modi. In the past, he has been campaigning for Modi and has openly passed derogatory remarks about the Congress. This programme enlists “critical issues” facing the nation in its schedule and appears to be a platform for campaign for Modi, just three days before the Gujarat polling day of April 30.” The Congress party has demanded that the DEO must not permit Ramdev’s programme to take place until polling day.
Amin told The Indian Express, “We are asking a simple question. If the camp does not intend to promote Modi, then why can it not be pushed for a date after April 30? Let Ramdev come to the city after polls are over and say whatever he has to.” The party has annexed the programme schedule and open invitation of the event for the perusal of the DEO and election officers. One printed pamphlet of the event, annexed in the complaint of the party, enlists grave issues that are facing the country ahead of the elections.
When contacted, Rao said, “I have brought this complaint to the notice of the Chief Electoral Officer of the state and we will take the advice of the Election Commission on this matter.”