Even as it issued notice to BJPs prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi for referring to Congresss poll symbol as khooni panja (bloodied hand),the Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday expressed displeasure over the tone,tenor and content of remarks made by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi during election rallies at Churu and Indore.
Observing that Modi’s statement was prima facie a violation of the model code of conduct,the poll panel asked him to explain,by November 16,why action should not be initiated against him.
Addressing a rally in Chhattisgarh on November 7,Modi had said,Yadi aap chahte hain ki Chhattisgarh ke upar kisi khooni panje ka saya na pade to aap sabhi kamal mein button dabana aur Chhattisgarh kokhooni panje se bachana (If you want to save Chhattisgarh from the bloodied hand,then vote for BJP).
Earlier in the day,the EC expressed dissatisfaction with Rahuls eight-page explanation in which he denied having violated the model code. Asking him to be more circumspect in his public utterances during election campaigns,the EC said,While the commission acknowledges the underlying intention and spirit of your impugned speeches to foster and promote communal harmony,it takes exception to the tone,tenor and content… The commission considers that the aforesaid portions of your speeches were not in consonance with the letter and spirit of the model code of conduct which prohibits any speeches or statements which may tend to aggravate differences between different religious communities and which also prohibits criticism of other political parties on the basis of unverified allegations.
Addressing poll rallies last month,Rahul had charged the BJP with indulging in politics of hatred and claimed that Pakistans ISI was in touch with the Muzaffarnagar riot victims.
In his response to the EC,Rahul had said,The BJP is a party that is built on the ideological plank of dividing the people of India on the basis of religion… My speeches reflect the argument that the spreading of this ideology of communal hate by the BJP is creating a highly combustible social environment in many states that explodes into violent conflict by even the smallest and most minor provocation. Over the years,numerous judicial decisions,commissions of inquiry and independent research reports have shown incontestably how the communal ideology of the BJP has gven rise to communal riots.
Meanwhile,the Congress on Wednesday moved the EC against Modis remarks that the Congress has given a free hand to the Indian Mujahideen to counter him. Although Modi made the remarks at a rally in Bahraich,the Congress said the statement apart from being malicious and mischievous,were made to influence and send an adverse message to the voters in poll-bound states against the Congress.
Sources said Ashish Khetan will be the vice-chairman of the commission.