A complaint was lodged by the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) on Saturday, April 6, with the Election Commission against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for calling the party a ‘virus’.
“We met ECI to file a complaint in regards to claims made by UP CM and by Delhi MLA MS Sirsa. They called us terrorists, virus and all kind of things. BJP troll army is behind it. We have asked EC to file FIR, they are going to look into the matter and immediately respond to us,” IUML national secretary Khorram Anis Omer said.
The ‘green flag’ controversy
Recently, there was a controversy about “green flags” being waved during Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s roadshow in Wayanad. Several people took to Twitter and Facebook to post a video where people could be seen cheering up for Rahul Gandhi holding his poster, along with green flags. They went on to claim that Pakistani flags had been used for his campaign in Wayanad.
However, this was confirmed to be a false claim as these green flags with a star and a crescent on them are of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), and not that of Pakistan.
Responding to this issue, Omer said that this “is an attempt to malign both parties”.
For long, IUML has been a Congress ally. It is also a part of the Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala. In the current Kerala House, the IUML has 18 MLAs. It had 20 members in the 2011 Assembly. The Election Commission of India has long recognised the IUML as a state party in Kerala.
The IUML’s flag has been equated with the flag of Pakistan by many BJP leaders, who have raised questions about the support of the IUML to the Congress president in Wayanad constituency of Kerala.
There is a clear difference between the flag of the IUML and that of Pakistan. There is a white crescent and star at the top left corner of rectangular green of the IUML’s flag. On the other hand, Pakistan’s flag has a broad white strip to the left of a square green patch. The white crescent and star in the Pakistani flag sits in the middle of the green and is much bigger.
What did Yogi Adityanath say?
Last week, Yogi Adityanath indirectly referred to IUML’s green flag, and in a comparison with pre-Independence Muslim League, claimed that the Muslim League had once led to the country’s partition, The Indian Express reported.
“Muslim League is a virus, with which if someone is infected once, he cannot be saved. Today, the main opposition party, Congress is infected with it. Think, if they win then what will happen? This virus will spread in the entire country,” Yogi Adityanath had tweeted. This is a translation of what he had written in Hindi.
मुस्लिम लीग एक वायरस है। एक ऐसा वायरस जिससे कोई संक्रमित हो गया तो वो बच नहीं सकता और आज तो मुख्य विपक्षी दल कांग्रेस ही इससे संक्रमित हो चुका है।
सोचिये अगर ये जीत गए तो क्या होगा ? ये वायरस पूरे देश मे फैल जाएगा।
— Chowkidar Yogi Adityanath (@myogiadityanath) April 5, 2019
Adityanath compared the Muslim League with that of pre-Independence and said that while the entire country was fighting with Mangal Pandey against the British during the 1857 freedom struggle, the Muslim League ‘virus’ came, spread and led to the partition of the country. He said that the same threat is looming again with the green flags being waved. The Congress has been infected with the Muslim League ‘virus’.
IUML seeks action against saffron party leaders
Muslim League leaders Khorram A Omer and Harris Beeran handed over a memorandum to the Election Commission, seeking action against leaders of BJP and its allies for making remarks in an attempt to belittle their party. They alleged that BJP and its leaders have purportedly spread photos of IUML’s green flag as that of Pakistan.
The memorandum said that the Muslim League is committed to the Constitutional values of democracy and secularism and that it has never indulged in anything that is detrimental to the nation’s integrity.
It said that people are being misled by BJP leaders, who are referring to the IUML as All India Muslim League, which is altogether a completely different party. The Indian Union Muslim League was formed on March 10, 1948, after the partition of India. One of the members of the Constituent Assembly, Quaide-Millat Mohd Ismail Sahib, was its founder.
The memorandum demanded action against Adityanath, Union Minister Giriraj Singh, BJP IT Cell chief Amit Malavya, actress Koena Mitra and BJP supporter Shefali Vaidya for their comments on social media, that made “baseless, malicious, wrong allegations” against the party, violating the model code of conduct.
An FIR was also sought against Adityanath and Akali Dal leader M S Sirsa for spreading and igniting communal hatred.
The Model Code of Conduct
The Model Code Of Conduct is a set of guidelines which regulate political parties and its candidates to ensure free and fair polls. The Election Commission derives its powers from Article 324 of the Constitution which allows it to monitor the central and state governments as well as the political parties and their candidates.
The MCC provisions deal with a myriad of issues ranging from speeches, management of elections, polling booths, portfolios, the content of election manifestos, among others.
While the EC ensures free and fair polls with the help of MCC, the latter has no statutory backing. Simply put, if a candidate or a party is guilty of violating the guidelines then they cannot be charged and the EC cannot proceed against them under any clause of the Code. The EC mostly uses either moral sanction or censure for its enforcement.
However, in extreme cases, such as when a candidate is seen instigating communal hatred, the EC can file complaints under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code or the Income Tax Act. The EC can issue notices of breach either on its own or on the basis of a complaint. The candidate or the party is bound to reply in writing.
Also Read: TLI Explains: With General Elections Coming Up, Know What The Model Code Of Conduct Means
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