The Election Commission of India on Tuesday issued show-cause notices to AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal and Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for allegedly making “disparaging” and “unverified” statements against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The ECI has asked them to respond to the charge of poll code violation by November 16.
Kejriwal, who is also a Delhi Chief Minister, was served notice for his AAP’s “disparaging, insulting, and defamatory” remarks against PM Modi on its social media handle, while Vadra was served notice for “unverified, false, and misleading” comments during a public rally in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh.
In the eight-page notice issued to Kejriwal, the poll panel said that the BJP had filed a complaint on November 10 against two posts on X (formerly Twitter) by the Aam Aadmi Party.
“…it has been alleged in the complaint that the aforesaid tweets have portrayed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and star campaigner of the Bharatiya Janata Party in a disparaging, insulting, and defamatory manner with scurrilous and malicious intent to adversely affect the candidature of the party’s representatives standing for election by influencing the sensibilities of voters through false propaganda and to thereby prejudice the prospects of that candidate’s election and influence the outcome of the above State elections to wrongfully gain votes in the ensuing elections,” the notice reads.
The BJP has alleged violation of Section 123(4) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and Section 171G, 499 and 501 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).
Analysing the complaint, the ECI said that it is prima facie of the view that the tweets from the handle of the AAP mentioned in the complaint violate the provisions of the MCC read with relevant election and penal laws and has sought response by 7 pm on Friday as to why appropriate action for violation of MCC and penal laws should not be taken against him.
“…therefore, the national convener of the Aam Aadmi Party is hereby called upon to explain the statements/ allegations/averments, made in the alleged social media posts under reference, against a star campaigner of another National Party and against the political party and by insinuation and innuendo against the candidates for the above State elections,” the poll body added.
Targeting PM Modi, Vadra had last week said that the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), which was giving employment and contributing in country’s growth “has been given to PM Modi’s industrialist friends”.
She made the remarks while addressing a rally in Madhya Pradesh’s Sanwer. The ECI said that the “public generally believes that the statements made by the senior leader that too of a star campaigner of a national party, are true”.
“…it is expected that such a leader is privy to and possesses factual base of the statements made by him/her. You must have verified the facts so as to not leave any possibility of misleading the voters,” the notice reads.
The ECI has sought Vadra’s response by 8 pm on Friday as to why appropriate action for violation of MCC should not be taken against her. “In the event of no response from your side within the stipulated time, it will be presumed that you have nothing to say in the matter and the Election Commission will take appropriate action or decision in the matter without making any further reference to you,” it said.
Last month, Vadra was also served notice for her remarks against PM Modi.