New Delhi: The Election Commission of India (ECI) today sent notices to the Congress Party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and the national convenor of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Arvind Kejriwal, for their remarks against Prime Minister and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s star campaigner Narendra Modi.
The BJP had lodged two separate complaints against Priyanka and the AAP in this regard on November 10, 2023.
Priyanka, while addressing a public rally at the Sanwer Assembly constituency in Madhya Pradesh on November 8, 2023, had said in Hindi:
Loosely translated, this meant, “Mr. Modi, why did you hand over BHEL to your big industrialist friends? BHEL was providing us with employment and taking the country forward. What did you do to it and who did you gift this to? Please tell us”.
Taking offence at her speech, BJP leaders Hardeep Singh Puri, Anil Baluni and Om Pathak complained to the ECI, alleging that the Congress Party general secretary “transgressed the fundamental principles of free and fair elections by disseminating false information under the guise of addressing the rally and misleading the public.
“The unverified, false statements made by Smt. Vadra are grave in nature and cannot be condoned. These statements not only lack factual basis but also have the potential to mislead the public and tarnish the image of the Prime Minister, especially in the context of the upcoming elections,” the complainants said.
Taking cognizance of the complaint, the ECI asked Priyanka to explain her statement made against Modi and to show cause by 2000 hours of November 16, 2023, as to why appropriate action for violation of the Model Code of Conduct should not be taken against her.
“…the public generally believes that the statements made by the senior leader that too of a star campaigner of a National Party, are true, it is expected that such a leader is privy to and possesses a factual base of the statements made by him/her. You must have verified the facts…so as to not leave any possibility of misleading the voters,” the ECI notice to Priyanka stated.
The ECI further warned Priyanka that in the event of no response from her side within the stipulated time, “it will be presumed that you have nothing to say in the matter and the Election Commission will take appropriate action or decision in the matter without making any further reference to you”.
In the case of Aam Aadmi Party, the ECI took cognizance of a complaint by the BJP that the AAP through its two posts on social media platform X, which the complainants alleged, portrayed Prime Minister and the BJP star campaigner Narendra Modi “in a disparaging, insulting and defamatory manner with scurrilous and malicious intent to adversely affect the candidature of the Party’s representatives standing for election by influencing the sensibilities of voters through false propaganda and to thereby prejudice the prospects of that candidate’s election and influence the outcome of the above State elections to wrongfully gain votes in the ensuing elections”.
The first post on X on November 8, 2023, was allegedly a “fabricated” video titled in Hindi and broadly translating to “Modi’s interesting routine – Watch the full video to know”, which garnered about 16,78,000 views. The video referred explicitly to Madhya Pradesh, which is one of the States where elections are forthcoming on November 17, 2023.
“And that such video comprises several imagery of the main campaigner of BJP, who is the Prime Minister of India and whose imagery, as per the complaint, appears to have been obtained from online sources and modified or manipulated along with additional animation and caricature to create a disparaging, offensive and repulsive fabricated and false electronic record, with a voiceover that mispresents, as if the Prime Minister is giving a narration of his day’s events,” the ECI notice to AAP stated.
The second post by AAP on ‘X’ on November 9, 2023 (8:41 AM), contained an image of a fabricated “poster” with the title “Bharatiya Jumla Party Presents” and comprising a large image of Gautam Adani, a businessman along with a smaller image of the Prime Minister in the foreground with the words “Sarkar Janta Ke Liye Nahi Malik Ke Liye Kaam Karte Hain” on top and the words “Scam 2023 and The Modi Adani Story” in bold at the foot of the alleged ‘poster’.
The ECI said that it was prima facie of the view that the tweets from the handle of the Aam Aadmi Party violated the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct, and asked the National Convenor of the AAP (Arvind Kejriwal) to explain the statements made in the social media posts and to show cause by 19.00 hours of November 16, 2023, as to why appropriate action for violation of Model Code of Conduct should not be taken against him.
– global bihari bureau