New Delhi: A petition filed in the Supreme Court has alleged that the Congress party’s manifesto for the Karnataka elections, scheduled to take place on 12 May, has appealed for votes on the basis of religion.
The plea brought by the chief of the Rashtriya Hindu Sena, Pramod Muthalik seeks a direction to the Election Commission of India (EC) to ensure that the Congress deletes its appeal to vote on a religious basis. The matter is yet to come up for hearing before the court.
The petition claims that the Congress has sought votes from Muslims and members of other minority communities for the Karnataka legislative assembly elections by declaring the number of beneficial schemes to be implemented on the basis of religion upon the formation of the government.
This is prohibited under Article 15 and 27 of the Constitution of India, the petition said. It also violates provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and the declaration made before the EC.
The petitioner said the malpractices, illegalities, and the communalisation of the election by the Congress should be stopped to save the Constitution and strengthen the democratic ethos and purity in elections.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, with Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah, on 27 April released the party’s election manifesto, which promised to launch several schemes that would benefit Muslims and members of other minority communities.
The party has promised to make generous budget allocation for welfare programmes to improve the social and economic status of minorities. It has also promised to provide considerable amount of funds for the education of children of minority communities, and help set up quality educational institutions by providing soft loans of up to Rs5 crore for organisations that provide collateral security at 4% interest.