Ahmedabad: The Election Commission of India (EC) on Thursday objected to interviews given by Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi to some television channels in Gujarat on the grounds that they allegedly violated the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
The EC has ordered the chief electoral officer of Gujarat B.B. Swain to initiate necessary action by filing an FIR (First Information Report) against the television channels which telecast the interviews one day before the final phase of polling in Gujarat.
Swain could not be reached for comment on his phone.
In a press statement, the EC said that in the television interviews given to some channels on Wednesday, Gandhi has talked about election to the legislative assembly of Gujarat which is currently under progress and polling for the second phase is scheduled to be held on 14 December.
The EC sent a separate notice to Gandhi, saying that prima facie, it was a violation of the model code of conduct and has sought an explanation from the Congress leader.
Campaigning for the second phase of the election ended on Tuesday evening 5PM, 48 hours before the end of the polls for the second phase to be held on Thursday.
The news channels display of interviews given by Gandhi fall within the definition of “election matter" under Section 126 (3) of Representation of the People Act, 1951 and display of such election matter within 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in the poll-bound Gujarat amounts to violation of Section 126 (1) (b) of Representation of the People Act, 1951, according to the press statement.
The EC has also directed television channels to stop telecast of such content that violates the provisions of Section 126 (1) (b) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 .
In the second phase, elections will be held for 93 assembly seats spread across 14 districts in north and central Gujarat. A total of 851 candidates are in the fray for the second phase, where 22.2 million people are eligible to vote.