The Supreme Court Tuesday will hear a Congress’ plea seeking direction to the Election Commission (EC) to act on complaints it made about alleged model code violation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah in their speeches. In her plea, All India Mahila Congress chief and Member of Parliament Sushmita Dev accused the poll panel of failing to act against PM Modi and Shah despite multiple complaints lodged against them.
The Indian Express has exclusively learnt that the full commission comprising of Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra has not had a single deliberation since April 5 – when Congress registered its first complaint against Modi – on the alleged violations by the prime minister. The panel has received five complaints from the Congress and one from the CPM against the PM’s remarks at poll rallies.
However, below listed are a few instances when the poll panel pulled up the political leaders for violating the poll code.
EC whip on Yogi Adityanath, Mayawati, Azam Khan, Maneka Gandhi
Taking action against their provocative remarks, the Election Commission invoked its extraordinary powers to temporarily ban UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, BSP chief Mayawati, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi and SP leader Azam Khan from campaigning. While Adityanath and Khan were barred for three days (72 hours), Gandhi and Mayawati did not campaign for two days (48 hours).
The punitive action was taken against the BSP chief for appealing directly to Muslim voters in Saharanpur and Bareilly districts during a joint rally of the BSP-SP alliance on April 7. Adityanath was punished for his “Ali and Bajrangbali” remark at a Meerut rally on April 9 and the “green virus” comment which was a reference to Muslims.
Maneka Gandhi was barred for saying, at a meeting in Sultanpur on April 11, that she will not be inclined to help Muslims if they do not vote for her.
Azam Khan was punished for the “indecent and repugnant” remarks he made on April 14 against BJP’s Rampur candidate Jaya Prada.
Showcase notice to Giriraj Singh for remark against Muslims
The EC issued showcause notice to BJP leader Giriraj Singh for his remarks against Muslims in Begusarai. Addressing a rally in Begusarai, Singh had said in Hindi, “Those who cannot say Vande Mataram or cannot respect the motherland, the nation will never forgive them. My ancestors died at the Simaria Ghat and did not need a grave but you need three handspans of space.” An initial scrutiny is underway.
Notice to Azam Khan over objectionable remarks
After barring him from campaigning for 72 hours, the EC on April 15 sent notice to Azam Khan for his speeches between April 7 and April 12 in various parts of Rampur, where he made objectionable remarks.
Notice to Jaya Prada over inflammatory remarks
BJP’s Rampur candidate Jaya Prada was served a notice for allegedly making objectionable comments against Azam Khan. A non-cognizable report has been filed against her, Rampur city magistrate Sarvesh Kumar Gupta said. During a public meet, she purportedly said, “Considering comments Azam Khan makes against me, Mayawati must think unki x-ray jaisi aankhen aapke upar bhi kahaan kahaan daal kar dekhengi (where his x-ray like eyes must have lingered).”
EC notice to Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi for calling Azam Khan Mogambo
Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi allegedly used the name of popular Bollywood villain “Mogambo” while referring to Azam Khan during a public rally in Rampur.
EC defers Modi biopic
After a special screening of the movie PM Narendra Modi, the Election Commission in a report told the SC to endorse its stand on deferring the release of the biopic until after the Lok Sabha polls. After watching the film, the EC has told the Supreme Court that PM Narendra Modi is not only a biopic, but also has dialogues, symbols, and presentation that “eulogises a public representative”. “Gazab ka junoon hai iski aankh main (There’s a remarkable obsession in his eyes).” “Rashtravaad hi meri sampatti hai (Nationalism is all I have acquired).” “…ek din ek sachha mard Dilli ki kursi par baithe (One day, a true man should take the helm in Delhi)” — are among the lines that the EC listed.
EC takes down trailers of Mamata biopic from websites
The Election Commission of India stepped in to take down the trailer of Baghini: Bengal Tigress, a film seen as a biopic of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, from three different websites. Set for its release on May 3, Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain said the producers have not got certification from the Central Board of Film Certification. The film’s director, Nehal Dutta, denies that it is a biopic of Banerjee, and had last week told The Indian Express in Kolkata that it is “inspired by her journey”.
EC directs Eros Now to stop online streaming of web series on PM Modi
After deferring the release of the biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Election Commission directed Eros Now to stop online streaming of the web series on the life of PM Modi until further orders. Titled as ‘Modi – The journey of a common man, the web series was released on April 3, 2019. “In view of the admitted facts and material available on record, this web series being an original web series on Shri Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister and a political leader and a prospective candidate in the current general elections to the Lok Sabha, cannot be exhibited,” said the poll panel.
Election Commission warns Maneka Gandhi over her ‘ABCD’ formula remark
The Election Commission on Monday censured Union minister Maneka Gandhi for the “ABCD formula” that she said will be used out to categorise villages where the BJP will carry out development work based on the percentage of votes the party would get from those villages. The EC in its letter to Gandhi, said that “based on the available evidence and material facts in the matter before EC, hereby, strongly condemns the impugned statements made by her (on 14 April in Sultanpur’s Sarkoda village) and warns her not to repeat such misconduct in future”.