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EC sets to declare Modi’s speech does not warrant action for MCC violation

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EC sets to declare Modi’s speech does not warrant action for MCC violation
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The Election Commission (EC) is set to issue its first disposal of a complaint against Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding the mentioning of the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, and the bringing back of copies of the Guru Granth Sahib — the Sikh holy book — as non-violations of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).

The Election Commission’s response is expected to be communicated when the case, filed by Supreme Court lawyer Anand S Jondale, accusing Modi of seeking votes in the name of Hindu and Sikh deities and places of worship during an election rally in Uttar Pradesh's Pilibhit, is heard by the Delhi High Court, according to The Indian Express.

Despite a clear mandate in the MCC that prohibits any person or party from making statements against any religion or caste, invoking statements that hurt religious sentiments, or creating divisions between different religions and castes, the Election Commission's proposed response to PM Modi's alleged MCC violation is likely to trigger a heated debate in the political arena.

In this context, when the Congress and other political parties have filed complaints against Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his direct attack on the Muslim community, calling them 'infiltrators' and 'those who have more children' during an election campaign in Rajasthan, questions would arise regarding the fairness and independence of the Lok Sabha elections. This is especially pertinent considering that two of the election commissioners were appointed just days before the declaration of the election dates by PM Modi.

According to sources familiar with the matter, the EC's decision is expected to clear Modi of any wrongdoing. It's anticipated that the Commission will communicate this decision to Jondale soon, as his plea in the Delhi High Court is scheduled for this week.

Jondale's complaint stemmed from Modi's address at a public rally on April 9, where he allegedly invoked Hindu and Sikh religious sentiments to garner support for his party. However, the EC's deliberations reportedly found no violation of the MCC. They concluded that Modi was merely listing the achievements of his government during the rally.

Furthermore, the EC determined that Modi's speech did not promote enmity between communities, despite mentions of religious topics. The Commission emphasized that the mere mention of religion in a campaign speech does not warrant action, as it could unduly restrict a candidate's freedom to campaign.

During the Pilibhit rally, Modi criticized the Congress and the Samajwadi Party for not participating in the consecration ceremony of the Ayodhya temple, referring to it as "Ram ka apmaan" (insult to Lord Ram).

He also assured the Sikh community of the BJP's support, highlighting the government's actions such as the development of the Kartarpur corridor and the retrieval of copies of the Guru Granth Sahib from Afghanistan.

The EC's decision is likely to be met with scrutiny, especially amidst ongoing complaints against Modi from opposition parties. The Congress, for instance, has lodged a complaint against the Prime Minister for his remarks at a rally in Rajasthan's Banswara on April 21, where he allegedly made divisive comments about Muslims and the opposition party's policies.

Despite the EC's forthcoming decision in the Pilibhit case, the controversy surrounding Modi's campaign speeches underscores the heightened sensitivity around religious and communal issues in Indian politics, particularly during election season.

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TAGS:Lok Sabha Elections 2024MCCModel Code of Conduct Violation
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