ECI points to ‘new course’ adopted on MCC violation, TMC calls it ‘Modi Code of Conduct’ | Latest News India

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By Mahtab Ahmad

The Election Commission of India on Tuesday said it expects top leaders of political parties to set “good examples” of poll campaign discourse and not vitiate the delicate fabric of society with their utterances. The poll body also stressed the responsibility of the party leaders to “correct the course” of their statements in the remaining phases of the election.

The TMC asked the Election Commission to stop "blatant violations" of the poll code by the BJP and its leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The TMC asked the Election Commission to stop “blatant violations” of the poll code by the BJP and its leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In its second suo motu report on enforcement of the Model Code of Conduct, the ECI clarified the move to send notices to party chiefs instead of leaders who allegedly violated the poll code with their divisive statements.

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“Commission has adopted a new course with its advisory dated 01st March 2024 to Party Presidents/Chairpersons/General Secretaries of all recognised political parties urging them to ask their leaders/candidates/star campaigners not to make speeches/ utterances which are in direct or indirect violation of MCC,” the poll body said.

“The Commission has taken a view that while the individual star campaigner/leader/candidate would continue to remain responsible for speeches made, the Commission will address Party President/Head of the political party, on case-to-case basis, as the Parties have prime responsibility to rein in their star campaigners from committing such violations,” it added.

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Last month, the ECI sent show-cause notices to BJP national president JP Nadda and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge after complaints of alleged poll code violation were filed against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. The EC notices, however, did not directly name either Modi or Gandhi, but the representations received by it were attached to the respective letters.

While the Congress party said the notices to both party presidents in “virtually identical language” was a “bizarre equivalence”, critics wondered why the poll body refrained from sending the notices directly to the individuals accused of violating the poll code.

“The purpose is to raise the accountability of the political party in compliance of MCC by all their cadres,” the ECI argued.

The Commission said that both parties have sent their responses to the notices and appropriate action on “complaints/counter complaints is under examination/ consideration”.

Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress has asked the Election Commission to stop “blatant violations” of the poll code by the BJP and its leaders, alleging that the model code of conduct has been turned into “Modi Code of Conduct”.

TMC MPs Sagarika Ghose and Saket Gokhale submitted a letter to the poll panel raising concerns over EC’s alleged inaction against BJP leaders.

“We have written to the EC demanding that for the remaining phases of the election, the Model Code of Conduct be strictly enforced, complaints be acted upon, and Prime Minister Modi not be given a clean chit every time he violates election rules,” TMC Rajya Sabha MP Saket Gokhale told reporters outside EC headquarters.

Ghose said, “Under the watch of the Election Commission, the Model Code of Conduct has now become the Modi Code of Conduct. Any statement made by Modi goes unchecked and no action is taken against him. This undermines the fairness of our elections.”

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