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Lok Sabha elections 2019- Election Commission not acting against Modi, Shah: Congress MP Sushmita Dev to SC

Sushmita Dev, who is a Parliament member from Assam’s Silchar, has accused EC of sitting on complaints related to the MCC violations against the two. In her petition before the SC, Dev accused Modi and Shah of hate speeches and using armed forces for “political propaganda”.

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 30, 2019 07:43 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
sushmita dev,election commission,narendra modi
On Monday morning Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi mentioned Dev’s petition before a Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi-led bench and sought an urgent hearing, which was allowed.(Subhankar Chakraborty/HT PHOTO)

The Supreme Court (SC) will on Tuesday take up Congress lawmaker Sushmita Dev’s petition seeking directions to the Election Commission (EC) to act against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah for alleged repeated violations (the petition mentions 40) of the model code of conduct (MCC).

Dev, who is a Parliament member from Assam’s Silchar, has accused EC of sitting on complaints related to the MCC violations against the two. In her petition before the SC, Dev accused Modi and Shah of hate speeches and using armed forces for “political propaganda”.

The Election Commission of India said later on Monday that it is meeting on Tuesday to act on complaints of violations of Model Code of Conduct against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi as well as BJP president Amit Shah.

Deputy Election Commissioner Chandra Bhushan Kumar said that the poll body will take a decision on MCC violation complaints “against senior leaders of two political parties”.

“Commission has already taken all the inputs and all the details and we have scheduled a meeting tomorrow morning for taking decisions on each of these issues,” added Kumar.

On Monday morning Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi mentioned Dev’s petition before a Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi-led bench and sought an urgent hearing, which was allowed. “Why do not you mention the names clearly,” Gogoi asked him when the senior lawyer refrained from taking the names of Shah and Modi. Specifically, Dev’s petition claims the BJP leaders used the Pulwama terror attack and India’s air strikes against terror camps in Pakistan in their campaigns.

It also alleges that some of their statements are a “clear attempt to pollute and destroy the political discourse so as to influence the outcome of the election through unfair means”.

“…the Prime Minister and the party in power have for the past five years fostered and cultivated an atmosphere of communal tension for their petty political gains. It was, therefore, unsurprising when he and the BJP President continued with this practice even after the MCC was enforced,” said Dev’s petition. Dev said EC has acted against various opposition leaders by banning them from campaigning but failed to act against the two despite the Congress’s complaints.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has approached EC against MCC  violations by Gandhi twice; once on April 12 by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and then on Monday by union ministers Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Vijay Goel, as well as Rajya Sabha MP GVL Narasimha Rao.

On Monday, a Congress delegation met EC demanding action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging that he violated the model code of conduct by seeking votes in the name of the armed forces during a TV interview to a news channel in Varanasi on April 26.

“Our main concern is the PM’s speeches on armed forces, where he has been dragging the services into politics. This is unconstitutional,” Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi told reporters after meeting the poll watchdog.

“The Election Commission of India is taking action, but only on complaints which have merit. Perhaps the Congress complaints have no basis and therefore they [EC officials] have not acted,” Ranjeet Kumar Dass, the president of the BJP’s state unit in Assam, said.

“This shows that the Congress is nervous. Sushmita Dev herself is going to lose in Silchar,” Dass said.

First Published: Apr 30, 2019 00:19 IST