ECI reprimands BJP, Congress, says defence on poll campaign utterances ‘not tenable’ | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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ECI reprimands BJP, Congress, says defence on poll campaign utterances ‘not tenable’

May 22, 2024 03:53 PM IST

The Election Commission asked the BJP and the Congress to desist from campaigning along caste, community, language, and religious lines.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Wednesday issued firm directives to BJP national president JP Nadda and Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, instructing them to ensure that the star campaigners of the party adhere strictly to the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) during their election campaigns.

The Election Commission of India reprimanded the BJP and Congress for the alleged violations of Model Code of Conduct. (HT File)
The Election Commission of India reprimanded the BJP and Congress for the alleged violations of Model Code of Conduct. (HT File)

The ECI, in separate letters to Nadda and Kharge, expressed concern that the utterances of the concerned star campaigners follow patterns and create narratives which can be damaging beyond the MCC period.

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The Commission noted that technical loopholes or extreme interpretations of other political parties' utterances cannot discharge campaigners from the core responsibility of ensuring their own content is corrective and not further degrading the quality of campaign discourse.

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

Read: ‘Puzzling’: Mallikarjun Kharge responds to Election Commission’s letter to him

The poll panel said that the defence offered by both parties on the alleged utterances by the star campaigners is "not tenable".

Nearly a month after it issued notice to Nadda on the opposition charge that Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a divisive speech in Rajasthan's Banswara, the poll body directed the BJP president to convey to the star campaigners not to make speeches along religious or communal lines.

The ECI directed Kharge to ensure that campaigners do not make misleading statements suggesting that the Constitution of India could be abolished or sold. It also called for full compliance with its five-year-old advisory which requires party campaigners and candidates to desist from indulging in any political propaganda involving activities of the Defence forces and not to make potentially divisive statements regarding socio-economic composition of defence forces.

The ECI asked the presidents of the two national parties to issue formal notes to their star campaigners to correct their discourse, exercise care and maintain decorum.

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