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EC issues "strict warning" to Shashi Tharoor over comments on union minister

Shashi Tharoor

The Election Commission (EC) has issued a "strict warning" to Congress leader Shashi Tharoor for his remarks against BJP's Rajeev Chandrasekhar during a television interview.

The EC found Tharoor's statements to be in violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and cautioned him against making "unverified allegations" in the future.

The warning came in response to complaints filed by the BJP's Election Legal Convener and the NDA's Election Committee Convener. They alleged that Tharoor had made unsubstantiated accusations against Chandrasekhar during the interview.

Tharoor, the current MP from Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency, who is contesting against Chandrasekhar, denied the allegations. He argued that he had not mentioned Chandrasekhar or his party's name during the interview and claimed his statement was a general observation based on information from others.

However, the EC disagreed with Tharoor's defense, terming it "untenable."

The EC's statement read, "The imputations when read along with the context of the interview pointed at Rajeev Chandrasekhar. Any reasonable man could have made out from the interview that the accusations were directed at Rajeev Chandrasekhar."

Furthermore, the EC noted that Tharoor failed to provide any evidence to support his claims against Chandrasekhar. The panel emphasized the gravity of the allegations, stating, "Such a statement was unwarranted and violates the Model Code of Conduct (MCC)."

While the EC found no evidence that Tharoor appealed to caste, communal, or religious sentiments through his statements, it issued a strict warning against making unverified allegations. The order from April 12 directed the TV channel that aired the interview to refrain from broadcasting the contentious part until the MCC is no longer in effect.

In a separate development, Chandrasekhar, Union Minister of State for Information Technology and Electronics, has served Tharoor a legal notice. The notice demands that Tharoor "immediately withdraw" the allegations made on April 6 and issue an unconditional public apology via print and electronic media. Additionally, the notice instructs Tharoor to "cease, refrain and desist from defaming, harassing, hampering the reputation" of Chandrasekhar in the future.

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