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Business News/ Elections 2019 / Lok Sabha Elections 2019/  SC to hear Congress’ plea on poll code violation by Modi, Shah

NEW DELHI : The Supreme Court Monday agreed to hear on Tuesday a petition filed by the Congress party against alleged violations of the model code of conduct (MCC) by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah. Later in the evening, the Election Commission (EC) said it will meet Tuesday morning to look into these complaints, as well as those against Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

The Congress party’s petition in the SC said Modi and Shah had made hate speeches and invoked Armed Forces for political gains, and that the EC was not doing enough to act on complaints against Modi and Shah. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi will hear the matter.

Various parts of the country voted in the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections on Monday. Three more phases are left, and the results will be declared on 23 May.

President of the All India Mahila Congress and member of Parliament, Sushmita Dev, sought an early hearing, stating the Congress has made over 40 representations to the EC since the proclamation of the MCC against the two BJP leaders, but no action has been taken against them.

Appearing for Dev, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the EC has not acted on the party’s complaints against Modi and Shah for nearly three weeks.

Late on Monday, Chandra Bhushan Kumar, deputy election commissioner, told reporters, “There have been complaints against senior leaders of two political parties. EC has taken the inputs and is scheduled to hold a meeting tomorrow morning to look into it."

The MCC came into force on 10 March and the EC in circulars dated 9 and 19 March had prohibited invoking Armed Forces during the campaign.

“Anybody can file a case in Supreme Court. Congress president Rahul Gandhi had earlier apologized for his false allegations, so he should stop making such baseless allegations," said Anil Baluni, national spokesperson of the BJP.

Dev in her petition gave a list of ‘hate speeches’ at rallies and references made on the operation of the ‘Armed Forces’ in their ‘political propaganda’ despite the ban.

The petition said that Modi and Shah have been repeatedly referring to the Balakot air strikes and the Pulwama attack to showcase action taken under BJP rule.

A Congress delegation, which included senior leader Singhvi and chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, had filed three fresh complaints with the EC on Monday against BJP leaders invoking the actions by armed forces and malpractices during polling in Tripura.

Later in the day, Singhvi told reporters: “The PM has been making offensive statements without taking the MCC into consideration. He is dragging the armed forces into politics and violating the rule of the EC. We had filed a complaint on 1 April against Amit Shah. It’s been a month and we still have not received any response from the poll body. There cannot be two rules in a democracy."

Dev also asked the court to direct the EC “to expeditiously decide, without any delay or demur, and in any case not later than 24 hours," against the “multiple complaints filed and pending before it..."

The EC on 15 April had barred Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati from campaigning for varying periods, hours after an explosive intervention by the SC on the same morning, which called the EC “toothless" for failing to act against political leaders who made polarizing speeches.

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Updated: 30 Apr 2019, 12:47 AM IST
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