After a video went viral in which Himachal Pradesh BJP president Satpal Singh Satti was heard purportedly using derogatory remarks against Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, the District Election Officer (DEO) in Solan on Tuesday issued a notice to the BJP leader for violation of the Model Code of Conduct. Himachal’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Devesh Kumar said that the Election Commission “has taken strict cognisance” of the remarks by Satti, and that Satti has been asked to reply to the notice within 24 hours of its receipt.
The purported remarks by Satti were made on Sunday, during a meet with BJP workers at Ramshehar in Solan district, which falls under the Shimla (SC) Lok Sabha constituency. Satti, during his speech, had allegedly read out a Facebook post that included derogatory remarks against Gandhi.
On the basis of a complaint filed by the Congress, an FIR was registered against Satti at the Baddi police district, under which Ramshehar falls.
Baddi Additional Superintendent of Police N K Sharma said, “Taking note of the complaint filed against him (Satti), an FIR was registered against him under IPC Section 294 (uttering obscene words in a public place).”
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The Congress also carried out demonstrations against Satti across Himachal Pradesh. Satti’s effigies were also burnt at various places. The Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee said that the demonstrations against Satti would continue until he apologises for the remarks made against their party president.
In Delhi, the Congress approached the EC, demanding action against Satti for making the remarks against Gandhi. The Congress told the poll body that the “usage of such derogatory/obscene language not only violates the Model Code of Conduct but also the criminal laws of the country and such acts are punishable offences under the Indian Penal Code, 1860….The ECI must take note of such infractions and ensure that the Model Code of Conduct is followed in both letter and spirit”.
It asked the poll panel to bar Satti from holding rallies and addressing public gatherings.
The Congress also asked the poll panel to order an investigation into reports that a “suspicious black box” was seen whisked away from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s helicopter when it landed in Chitradurga in Karnataka last week.
In a memorandum, the Congress said cash worth crores was seized from the Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister’s convoy on April 3, shortly before the Prime Minister’s rally in Pasighat in the state.
“Therefore, it would not be entirely out of place to assume that the black box which has been transported in a hurried and clandestine manner could be part of the same modus operandi to carry large sums of cash. While this is a hypothesis it is, as stated above, supported by a recent incident in Pasighat,” the memorandum said.
A Congress delegation led by Abhishek Singhvi also asked the EC to look into reports of issuance of paper tickets by the Indian Railways in Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki with details of the Prime Minister Awaas (Rural) scheme and Prime Minister’s photograph printed on it, and reiterated its demand for action against Modi and BJP president Amit Shah for making “divisive and hateful” comments.
The Congress told the EC that “surrogate advertisement campaign of printing BJP’s schemes with the Prime Minister’s photograph by the Indian Railways not only violates the instructions” of the commission regarding surrogate advertisement, but also violates Section 127A of the Representation of People Act, 1951.
Meanwhile, on Monday, former Deputy Advocate General Vinay Sharma posted a video on his Facebook page, saying that if Satti didn’t apologise, he would file a police complaint. In the video, Sharma said, “Agar usne maafi nahi maangi toh jo Satpal Satti ki kaali zubaan kaat kar laega, usko 10 lakh rupya diya jaega (Whoever chops off Satti’s tongue will be rewarded with Rs 10 lakh).”
On Tuesday the BJP filed a police complaint against Sharma. The BJP also brought the matter to the notice of the election department. CEO Kumar said that the DEO, Kangra, has been directed to probe the matter and submit the findings and reports to Kumar.