The Congress on Wednesday approached the Election Commission with a complaint demanding stern action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP for violation of the Model Code of Conduct for invoking “Bhagwan Ram” and “Hanuman” at an event.
It also demanded that the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) poll symbol “must be cancelled and withdrawn”.
The complaint was submitted to the Election Commission by All India Congress Committee secretary KC Mittal, who heads the party’s legal and human rights department.
“On January 12, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the inaugural event of ‘Ramayana Darshanam Exhibition’ at Vivekanand Kendra, Kanyakumari, via video conferencing,” the complaint said.
“The Prime Minister found this an occasion to utilise the event as a part of election campaign in the name of religion by invoking and making statements regarding ‘Bhagwan Shri Ram’, ‘Ayodhya’, ‘Ram Rajya’, ‘Hanumanji’ and ‘Bharat’ repeatedly,” the complaint submitted to chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi and others read.
The complaint also said the Prime Minister deliberately mentioned about Bhagwan Shri Ram, Hanumanji and other characters from the Ramayana and compared the policies of his government with those of “Bhagwan Shri Ram”.
“The whole idea and tenor of his speech was to invoke religion to further the election prospects of the BJP and their candidates in poll-bound five states, particularly in Uttar Pradesh and other states generally,” it added.
The complaint also drew the EC’s attention to the photograph of the Prime Minister during the video conferencing, which showed him with the national flag as the backdrop along with Ashoka symbol with slogan “Rama became Lord Rama when he empowered the poor” inscribed at the top of the photograph.
The Congress claimed this was used with an eye to the poll campaign in poll-bound states.
“It is, therefore, requested that the Commission may be pleased to take immediate ‘stern action’ against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and issue appropriate orders and direction, since the BJP and their prominent representatives have been flouting the Model Code of Conduct repeatedly,” the complaint read.
“It is an appropriate case where the symbol of BJP may be cancelled and withdrawn,” it added.