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Delhi poll officer asks EC: Do social media posts vitiate political atmosphere?

The letter, dated January 16, was sent to Pawan Diwan, Under Secretary, EC. Along with the letter, the CEO office attached three videos containing the digital content, which includes seven videos by the BJP, three videos and a post by the Congress, and two videos and one post by AAP.

Written by Aranya Shankar | New Delhi | Updated: January 23, 2020 2:20:23 am
Delhi poll officer asks EC: Do social media posts vitiate political atmosphere? Highlighted AAP posts include a morphed video of Manoj Tiwari dancing on ‘Lage Raho Kejriwal’, and another titled ‘Rinkiya beta zara phone uthana’, referring to Tiwari’s popular song. (Express Photo By Amit Mehra)

Personal jibes and allegations being made by the three political parties on their social media handles has grabbed the attention of the Delhi Chief Election Office (CEO), which has written to the Election Commission (EC) to take cognizance of the posts, saying they can vitiate the political atmosphere.

They have also asked the EC to clarify if they fall under the category of political advertisements, which require pre-certification.

The CEO office has cited EC’s letter dated April 16, 2014, and asked whether the posts were also included in the ambit of the guidelines. The guidelines state, “Any political content in the form of messages/comments/ photos/videos posted/uploaded on blogs/self accounts on websites/social media will not be treated as political advertisements and therefore would not require pre-certification. Even if the same is posted/uploaded by political parties/candidates, it would not fall within the meaning of political advertisement and would not be subject to directions/guidelines issued by the Commission.”

The letter, dated January 16, was sent to Pawan Diwan, Under Secretary, EC. Along with the letter, the CEO office attached three videos containing the digital content, which includes seven videos by the BJP, three videos and a post by the Congress, and two videos and one post by AAP.

These include BJP’s videos in which they called Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal ‘Palturam’, another which was called ‘PAAP ki Adalat’ in a veiled attack on AAP, and another called ‘Ticketwall’. Similarly, they have flagged Congress videos in which they said voting for AAP would mean a vote for BJP, and another attacking Kejriwal, saying he was Kejri-well, “a well of hoax”.

Highlighted AAP posts include a morphed video of Manoj Tiwari dancing on ‘Lage Raho Kejriwal’, and another titled ‘Rinkiya beta zara phone uthana’, referring to Tiwari’s popular song.

The CEO office, in their letter, said there was an increase in such personal attacks, which were being shared both through official accounts of parties, as well as from individual accounts of their leaders and account managers.

According to sources, the EC has quoted the provision regarding personal attack and asked the Delhi CEO office to identify if the Model Code has been violated and act accordingly.

The provision states: “Criticism of other political parties, when made, shall be confined to their policies and programme, past record and work. Parties and candidates shall refrain from criticism of all aspects of private life, not connected with public activities of the leaders or workers of other parties. Criticism of other parties or their workers based on unverified allegations or distortion shall be avoided.”

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