The Election Commission on Friday served a notice to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi over an alleged inflammatory speech delivered on May 1 and also directed the Uttar Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer to probe the matter of Rahul entering polling stations and inspecting EVMs while votes were being cast in Amethi on May 7. The Congress claimed on Friday that Rahul had entered the booths to see the dysfunctional EVMs and those who accompanied him were not voters. The party also said it had lodged a complaint about the dysfunctional EVMs with Amethi’s Returning Officer on the polling day.
In his complaint to Amethi’s Returning Officer made at 8.35 am on May 7, District Congress Committee president Yogendra Mishra named 14 instances where EVMs were reportedly not working. Mishra had sought replacement of these machines to avoid inconvenience to voters.
“On the directions of the commission, further inquiry is being done by senior officers of CEO Uttar Pradesh. The matter will be processed on the receipt of the report,” an EC spokesperson said.
Congress sources, meanwhile, said that on May 7, Rahul visited about two dozen booths in his constituency as is allowed to a candidate by the EC. On two booths, party sources said, he found huge queues on voters and he came to know that EVMs were not working.
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He enquired with polling officers and agents and at their insistence, sources added, he went to see the dysfunctional EVMs. Those accompanying him were polling officers or agents and not voters, which sources said is not a violation of the model code.
Rahul was also served a notice by the EC for having made an inflammatory speech at Solan in Himachal Pradesh in which he allegedly said, “If the BJP comes to power, 22,000 people will be killed”. Serving him a notice for his speech, the EC told Rahul that it was prima facie of the opinion that he had violated the provisions of the model code. Rahul has been given time till 11 am on May 12 to explain his stance on the matter, failing which the EC will take a decision without further reference to him.
“Japan ke log sawal poochte hain, aap jante hain kya sawal poochte hain. Hum apki madad karenge, sadak tayyar karenge… ek darr hai, kya yahan par shanti rahegi ya nahi. Kya Hindustan ke log ek-doosre se lad jayenge ya nahin. Yeh darr hai hamari zindagi mein bilkul. BJP hogi toh ladai hogi, BJP hogi toh 22,000 log marenge. Kyunki woh gussa phailatey hain,” Rahul reportedly said at the rally on May 1.
Earlier, EC had issued similar notices to leaders like BJP’s Amit Shah, SP’s Azam Khan, Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma and others.