Twenty-five days after the Congress lodged complaints against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for making a ‘divisive’ speech in an election rally in Wardha on April 1, the Election Commission in its full meeting ruled there was no violation of its model code of conduct.“Matter has been examined in detail in accordance with provisions of Model Code of Conduct, Representation of People’s Act, and Maharashtra chief electoral officer report.
Accordingly, the Election Commission is of the view that in this matter no such violation has been noticed,” the EC stated late on Tuesday evening following a meeting of Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra.In Wardha, Modi had made a veiled reference to Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s decision to contest from Wayanad, saying, “The Congress insulted Hindus and the people of the country have decided to punish the party. Leaders of that party are now scared to contest from seats dominated by the majority population. That is why they are taking refuge in places where the majority is a minority.”
The Election Commission’s meeting came a day after Congress MP Sushmita Dev filed a petition in the Supreme Court alleging failure of the poll body in enforcing the model code of conduct despite multiple violations by Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah. The SC on Tuesday issued a notice to the EC and set Thursday for further hearing in the matter.
The Trinamool Congress, too, lodged a complaint with the Election Commission, claiming Modi had violated the model code. A letter to the EC signed by Derek O’Brien said: ‘’We are shocked and surprised to hear the utterances of Narendra Modi that 40 AITC MLAs are in touch with him and will cross over to BJP after declaration of results.’’ However, the Election Commission did not divulge details of deliberations about complaints against violation of the model code of conduct by the BJP chief Amit Shah and Congress president Rahul Gandhi