Congress files complaint with ECI against Modi’s Kanyakumari meditation break | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Congress files complaint with ECI against Modi’s Kanyakumari meditation break

May 30, 2024 08:54 AM IST

Prime Narendra Modi’s two-day meditation in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari will coincide with the seventh phase of the Lok Sabha polls on Saturday

The Congress has filed a complaint with the Election Commission of India (ECI) saying Prime Narendra Modi’s two-day meditation break from Thursday to Saturday in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari will violate the 48-hour silence period ahead of the seventh and the last phase of Lok Sabha polling.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Odisha on Wednesday. (PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Odisha on Wednesday. (PTI)

Modi’s office on Tuesday said he will meditate at Kanyakumari’s Rock Memorial. The meditation will coincide with the seventh phase of the Lok Sabha polls on Saturday. Modi took a similar break at the end of the election campaigns in 2014 and 2019.

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“We have no problem if any leader keeps a fast of silence or campaigns but during the silence period, there should be no campaigning,” said Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi after a meeting of a Congress delegation with ECI officials on Wednesday.

The delegation submitted 28 complaints over alleged violations of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its top leaders including Modi, Union home minister Amit Shah, and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath.

Singhvi said the silence period before the polling will begin on May 30 and continue until June 1. He added Modi’s meditation is a direct violation of the MCC. “...you are either campaigning this way or publicising yourself through new channels and print media,” Singhvi said.

There was no immediate response from the ECI on whether the BJP has sought its permission for Modi’s meditation during the silence period.

Singhvi said that the Congress proposed that Modi can start his meditation on Saturday evening. He added if Modi insists on starting it on Thursday evening, the ECI should prohibit all media from reporting about it. “He is a candidate himself in the last phase. About 55 constituencies are going to polls in the last phase. Such publicity should not be allowed,” Singhvi said.

The Congress also complained against BJP’s “false, misleading, and divisive” posts on X to further its narrative about the alleged policy of wealth redistribution favouring members of a religious minority. It said doctored videos of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s speech were circulated on May 10 across social media platforms to mislead voters and dissuade them from voting for the party.

Jharkhand Congress’s X account was blocked and the party’s members in Telangana were arrested over a doctored video of Shah.

Six of the Congress’s 28 complaints related to Modi’s “derogatory” and “communal” remarks in his speeches. The Congress said most of them falsely claimed that it seeks to redistribute wealth among Muslims, pejoratively referred to as “those who do Vote Jihad”. It said Modi’s interviews with India Today and Aaj Tak were televised on May 13, the day of polling for the fourth phase in violation of the MCC and the Representation of People Act (RPA).

In its three complaints against Adityanath, the Congress said he accused the party of historically supporting “terrorism” in violation of the MCC, RPA, and the Indian Penal Code. The Congress submitted two complaints against Shah’s speeches.

The Congress said Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on May 22 appealed to the people “to vote on the basis of religion” while falsely portraying the party as communal. It added voters in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana received calls from the US to vote for BJP in violation of the MCC and RPA.

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