The Election Commission (EC) on Thursday went beyond its constitutional mandate and slammed parties for “progressively plummeting levels of political discourse” during the current electioneering.
It said the right to freedom of speech and expression must not transcend the bounds of decency. The panel asked the parties to maintain “high standards” during electoral campaigns.
The Election Commission directive came on a day the National Commission for Minorities asked the poll panel to take action against Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Kumar Vishwas for allegedly hurting religious feelings.
With reference to this, in a strongly-worded letter to all parties, EC said the “burgeoning tide of complaints and counter-complaints” received by the panel had stemmed from the use of abusive language and provocative statements to cause hatred and disharmony, personal attacks on rivals, etc.
“The gravity of the situation can be gauged from the fact that the ECI is seized of petitions from two national political parties seeking each other’s derecognition for repeated violations of the model code.”
While the panel made it clear that it did not propose to take the extreme step, the commission said it “desires to put all political parties on notice”.
Here are some examples: BJP leader Narendra Modi described the Congress symbol as “khooni panja” (murderous palm), while Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi labelled the BJP as a party of “looters”.