NEW DELHI: The Congress late Wednesday responded to the Election Commission’s (EC) to its president-elect Rahul Gandhi, saying that the commission should ideally issue a notice to the BJP.
“Congress delegation submitted a memorandum to ECI demanding immediate registration of FIR against BJP leaders in the context of them violating the model code of conduct. If FIR can be registered against news channels for telecasting Rahul ji’s interview, then why not against BJP?” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted with two documents on Thursday. The document added that the Congress was ‘shocked and anguished’ at the EC’s notice. “Such a decision, if taken, is discriminatory and does not take into account the conduct of the ruling party,” the document added.
The Election Commission had cracked the whip on Rahul Gandhi and certain television channels that aired his interviews even after the end of campaigning.
The BJP and the Congress traded charges against each other for trying to influence the voters in the mandatory no-campaign period.
Within hours of the filing of three complaints by the BJP, the EC served a showcase notice to Rahul on Wednesday and ordered FIR against certain Gujarati television channels.
The EC asked Rahul to explain by December 18 why he violated the poll code of no campaign within 48 hours of the conclusion of the final day of polling.
The EC also instructed the Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to stop the display of such matter in districts going to the polls on December 14.
Following the EC’s step, the Congress reacted sharply and called it partisan. The party demanded from the EC that an FIR be filed against BJP leaders. At the EC’s doorstep, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala described it as an attempt to strangle the press.
“In 2014 Mr Modi had given a television interview just a day before the polling, and on the day of polling, he had even displayed the BJP symbol, but EC did not act then. On December 8, a day before the first phase, the BJP finance minister released the manifesto but EC did not issue a show cause,” he said.
In his first interview, Rahul said the “BJP is not scared of him but of the voice of Gujarat.”
“In the last three months, I have just raised the voice of Gujarat. They are not scared of me. They are scared of the voice of Gujarat. This election is not about Rahul Gandhi or Narendra Modi. This is about the voice of Gujarat,” Rahul told TV channels.