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EC Raps BJP, Congress For Communal Lines In LS Elections Speeches

After five phases of the Lok Sabha election, the Election Commission criticized both the ruling BJP and the main Opposition Congress for speeches made by their star campaigners. This happened after both parties filed complaints against each other regarding speeches by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi.

The Election Commission issued separate directives to BJP president JP Nadda and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, stating that the country’s socio-cultural environment should not suffer because of elections.

the commission said.”¬†Elections are a process in which political parties¬†not only contest to win but also¬†avail themselves of the opportunity to present themselves in their ideal best for the voting community to experience, emulate, and build hopes on.¬†The second part constitutes the more precious heritage of Indian elections and our electoral democracy, and this should not be allowed to be weakened by anyone, including your party,”¬†

¬†the poll¬†body told both parties.¬† “Elections are periodic exercises; they come and go, but political parties like yours endure; even more enduring preserve is India’s socio-cultural milieu.¬†Political parties are¬†in¬†the task of¬†nurturing leaders for the country for¬†present¬†and future.¬†They cannot afford to be lax in any manner in enforcing discipline and conduct among the cadre in the high stake electoral space, especially¬†with reference to¬†senior¬†members”

Both parties previously complained to the Election Commission about each other’s leaders. The commission sent notices and asked for their responses. However, in today’s directions, it rejected their defences.

In its letter to Mr Nadda, the commission expects the BJP, as the ruling party at the Centre, to align its campaign methods with the diverse and sensitive nature of India. It directed the BJP to tell all-star campaigners to avoid making statements prohibited under the Model Code of Conduct. 

The rules state that no party or candidate should engage in activities that worsen existing differences, promote hatred, or create tension between different castes, communities, religions, or languages.

The Election Commission instructed the BJP chief to advise all star campaigners “not to make speeches and statements that could divide society.” It also directed them to “avoid any campaigning methods or remarks based on religious or communal lines.” The commission emphasized the importance of maintaining decorum in speeches by the party’s star campaigners.

The Election Commission’s letter to Mr Kharge stated that it expects the Congress to “fully align its campaign methods with the practical aspects of India’s diverse and sensitive nature.”

The commission asked the Congress chief to instruct its star campaigners to avoid making statements prohibited under the General Conduct rules of the model code of conduct.

Mr Kharge was also directed to advise Congress star campaigners to “refrain from engaging in any political propaganda involving activities of the Defence forces during election campaigning and to avoid making potentially divisive statements regarding the socio-economic composition of the Defence forces.” He was further instructed to ensure that star campaigners “do not make statements that give a false impression, such as suggesting that the Constitution of India may be abolished or sold.”

Earlier, the Congress raised concerns with the Election Commission regarding Prime Minister Modi’s allegations that the Opposition party aimed to redistribute people’s wealth among Muslims and suggested that the party would even target married women’s ‘mangalsutra’.

On the other hand, the BJP brought to the Election Commission’s attention a speech by Rahul Gandhi in which he accused the Prime Minister of promoting the idea of one nation, one language, and¬†one religion.

The Election Commission later issued notices to¬†Mr.¬†Nadda and¬†Mr.¬†Kharge.¬†Importantly, these notices did not specifically name Prime Minister Modi or¬†Mr.¬†Gandhi. Instead, party leaders were held responsible for the speeches made by star campaigners. Similarly, today’s directions also do not mention any leader’s name.


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