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FIR against Ajay Rai, MM Joshi says 'no big deal'

The Varanasi Police filed an FIR against Congress candidate Ajay Rai on directions of the Election Commission on Monday after he displayed his party's symbol at a polling booth.

india Updated: May 12, 2014 23:53 IST

An FIR was filed on Monday against Congress' Varanasi nominee Ajay Rai on the directive of the Election Commission for allegedly violating the election code of conduct by wearing his party's poll symbol on his 'kurta' while going to vote.

Senior police officials said the FIR against Rai has been lodged at the Sigra Police Station under sections 126 and 130 of the Representation of Peoples Act and section 171 (H) of the IPC relating to poll code of conduct.

The FIR was lodged shortly after the Election Commission directed the district administration to do so after it analysed a report sent by special election observer in Varanasi, Praveen Kumar. The Bharatiya Janata Party and Aam Aadmi Party sought action against Rai for the alleged violation.

Early in the morning, Rai came along with his family members to cast his vote in Ramakant Nagar of Chetganj area, while wearing a badge of Congress election symbol 'hand' on his kurta.

Using any party symbol within 100 metres of a polling station is a violation of election rules and regulations. Dressed in a cream colour kurta and pyjama, Rai walked into the polling station early in the day accompanied by his wife to cast his vote.

He also spoke to reporters within 10 metres of the polling station, which again is a breach of law.

"We have called for the CCTV footage of the polling booth and action will be taken after examining the same," Kumar said shortly after Rai cast his vote.

Video: Ajay Rai casts his vote, says 'people will throw out outsiders'

The Congress defended Rai saying the BJP is using double standards.

"The BJP earlier said there was nothing wrong with Narendra Modi wearing the lotus symbol and now it is saying take action against Ajay Rai," said Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal.

Rai too defended his action saying that he has the right to wear the symbol as a candidate.

Rai also claimed that his action cannot be compared with the case against Narendra Modi as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate had shown his party's lotus symbol after casting vote.

An FIR was lodged against the Gujarat chief minister after he addressed a presser on April 30 outside a polling station in Ahmedabad's Gandhinagar constituency and had clicked a selfie with his party's symbol in his hand.

The district administration had then clarified that Modi was well outside the 100 metre banned distance when the press conference took place.

Modi is also fighting Lok Sabha elections from Varanasi.

AAP's Arvind Kejriwal raised objections about Rai wearing the 'hand' badge in the polling booth and told reporters that Rai had clearly violated the law.

BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, however, snubbed party leaders making a big issue out of Rai displaying the party symbol at a poll booth, saying it was a "small thing".

"For some people it (Rai wearing Congress symbol) may be a big thing. There is no big thing in that. Who doesn't know their (Congress) election symbol? Everybody takes hand with them, will you cut their hands? I feel that a party (BJP) which is winning with such a big margin should not look into these small things. It will not have an effect on a single vote," Joshi said.

Video: Ajay Rai does a Modi, flaunts Congress symbol on poll day