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Lok Sabha elections 2019: Congress asks leaders to follow Election Commission guidelines

In the April 8 advisory that has since been repeated, the party demanded strict compliance with the poll watchdog’s guidelines regarding the model code of conduct (MCC) from its candidates, office bearers and those involved in campaigning.

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 17, 2019 00:49 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress,Navjot Singh Sidhu,Bihar
The Congress defended Sidhu and pointed to statements made by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in the past one week.(Sameer Sehgal/Hindustan Times)

Punjab minister and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu’s speech in Bihar’s Katihar on Monday allegedly urging Muslims to vote to defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have fallen foul of the party’s advisory to its candidates and office bearers to strictly adhere to the Election Commission (EC) guidelines for the ongoing polls.

In the April 8 advisory that has since been repeated, the party demanded strict compliance with the poll watchdog’s guidelines regarding the model code of conduct (MCC) from its candidates, office bearers and those involved in campaigning.

In the advisory, Congress general secretary in-charge of organisation KC Venugopal asked state chiefs, general secretaries, in-charges of states, Congress Working Committee (CWC) members and party secretaries to personally look into the matter and bring the watchdog’s instructions to the notice of all the candidates.

He also attached six-point EC guidelines with the letter that had been reissued in the wake of the EC’s latest crackdown against those violating the MCC such as Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, Union minister Maneka Gandhi, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan.

The commission’s instructions bar any appeal on the basis of caste or communal grounds and any activity that may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes or communities or religious and linguistic groups.

The Congress defended Sidhu and pointed to statements made by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in the past one week. “I haven’t read the statement but going by the summary, there seems to be nothing objectionable. And if so, the EC will take cognisance. But in comparison to the kind of statements we are hearing for the past one week, this is nothing,” said senior leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

First Published: Apr 17, 2019 00:49 IST