Alleging that the Model Code of Conduct has become “Modi code of conduct”, the Congress on Saturday questioned the EC’s “silence” over poll code “violations” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, and said it may approach courts to seek action against the duo.
The two leaders have “cheated” on the issue of level playing field for all parties during elections and questioned the “silence of mega policeman” Election Commission (EC), Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi alleged at a press conference.
“We have a right to approach the courts seeking action over model code violations… we can exercise that option… the mega policeman has turned a blind eye,” Singhvi said, adding that silence can be construed as approval.
Taking a jibe at the poll panel, he said the Congress is saddened to say that it seems that from the second word of Election Commission, ‘C’ has been dropped, and it has become “Election Omission” for the Modi-Shah duo.
Singhvi wondered whether Modi and Shah are outside the ambit of the Model Code of Conduct, which he dubbed as “Modi code of conduct”.
He claimed that the two leaders have violated the poll code broadly under three categories: polarisation of votes, invoking armed forces in campaigns and taking out rallies on election days.
“The EC has taken action against several leaders for violating the poll code based on our complaints. We appreciate that. Since the precedent has been set, why not take action against Modi and Shah,” he said.
“We are sad to say that the Modi-Shah duo has become a kind of an arch of immunity as far as the Election Commission’s jurisdiction goes, as far as the Model Code of Conduct goes,” Singhvi said.
Never has there been a more “audacious set of individuals” who for petty electoral gains have turned a blind eye to the existence of the EC, poll code and the Constitution, he alleged.
“I can understand the selfish petty motives of the party in power, but, what we cannot understand is how the mega policemen, the Election Commission, for this 50-day window of elections turned a blind eye to such egregious, wanton, unashamed conduct day in and day out,” Singhvi said.
“I salute them (EC) for acting on our complaint, where I have personally appeared and argued for the same issues I gave three categories hate speech, armed forces and doing campaigning while voting,” the Congress leader said.
On two of these issues, the EC had passed orders prohibiting or curtailing campaigning activities, he said, citing the case of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
The chief minister was barred by the EC from campaigning for 72 hours.
Singhvi said in the past 25 days, he has personally led at least 15 delegations to the commission.
He urged the poll panel to follow its own orders and precedents while looking into the complaints against Modi and Shah.
The Congress leader said are there “two laws in this country for the prime minister and for Amit Shah on the one hand and for others on the other”.
“Is there a discriminatory application by their tomb-like silence on these two persons? Is the EC not directly, not tacitly, directly accepting endorsing and supporting such conduct?” he asked.
“Therefore, we are now complaining through you (EC) only when the water has risen above our head. The people of India demand an explanation for this inaction, for this silence and although we are doing everything in our power, including, if necessary, moving court. The point is why is the Election Commission not doing anything,” Singhvi said.
By not doing anything, the poll panel is in fact deciding by default, he alleged.
Responding to questions on reported remarks by Congress leaders PC Chacko and Shatrughan Sinha on Yasin Malik and Mohammed Ali Jinnah respectively, he said while Sinha has clarified his comments, it would be better if Chacko was approached directly on the issue.